On October 16, the Mattapoisett Planning Board re-opened preliminary discussions with David Davignon of N. Douglas Schneider & Associates representing Dennis Arsenault. Arsenault is proposing a two-lot subdivision situated deep inside a recognized wetlands system at the end of Snow Field Road.
Chairman Tom Tucker asked Davignon if the plan before the board had any changes from those reviewed and discussed on September 18. Davignon responded no.
Original conceptual design was for the construction of a roadway extension at what is currently a dead end on Snow Field Road. That roadway plan would have allowed access to upland acreage where the proposed lot subdivision is planned. However, during earlier preliminary discussions, it was clear that Planning Board oversight of a roadway extension would prove a long process, given the surrounding wetlands.
When Davignon went before the Planning Board back on September 18, the plan had changed, with the proposed roadway extension redesigned into a shared private driveway for the two lots, and a large cul-de-sac where Snow Field currently ends. The proposed cul-de-sac would provide frontage for the lots, while the driveway would not require Planning Board oversight.
On this night, Davignon responded to a few questions from the Planning Board and concerns presented by abutters.
Highway Surveyor Barry Denham said the cul-de-sac “looks strange,” with Tucker agreeing.
But Davignon, while agreeing it might look strange, said the design did meet requirements. “It’s not relevant if it looks funny,” said Davignon.
Denham asked, “But do we have a guarantee it complies with zoning requirements? I’ve never seen it before, but I don’t have the expertise to guide the board one way or the other.”
Moving on to other questions, Planning Board member Janice Robbins asked, “In terms of design, who oversees that? Do we have the authorization to ensure it meets guidelines? …It is our duty to approve a driveway?”
Tucker said the board had approved new driveways in the past. He also confirmed to Robbins that the board would be overseeing the construction in terms of its compliance with construction standards.
Regarding if and how the newly created cul-de-sac might become the responsibility of the Town, Tucker said the developer could ask the Town to accept it in the future via a Town Meeting vote. Davignon said, “If it is built to spec, the Town can accept it.” He added, “It happens all the time.”
Abutter Peter LaFreniere asked how the stormwater runoff that is already a problem on Snow Field Road would be managed. Davignon said a drainage study would be completed, yet it was unclear whether that study had begun yet. Davignon said the study would help with drainage calculation and planning.
Abutter Andrea Osborne said, “Our biggest concern is the water.” She likened the changes to the roadway and the creation of a long driveway to a dam. Davignon held to his conclusion that once water movement studies were completed, culverts and berms would allow water to drain properly.
Robbins said, “But your plans show waivers for drainage.”
“Well,” said Davignon, “we are going to do a drainage analysis.”
Abutter Gary Zahn asked how the proposed cul-de-sac was going to benefit the neighbors. Davignon said from a public safety standpoint it would allow emergency vehicles to turn around and access fire hydrants more readily.
Denham stated that he would like to see a peer review consultant brought into the planning process. Tucker concurred, and noted to Davignon that the board would be asking for that consideration.
Tucker then asked Davignon if he thought further preliminary discussions were needed. Davignon said he thought the concept was ready for full Planning Board vetting. The board members agreed to close the preliminary discussion phase.
Next stop for this project is the Conservation Commission scheduled for October 23 at 6:30 pm in the town hall conference room.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Planning Board is scheduled for November 6 at 7:00 pm in the town hall conference room.
Mattapoisett Planning Board
By Marilou Newell