To Tree or Not to Tree…

To understand the subject matter of the May 20 Mattapoisett Planning Board, one would have been best served by holding a degree in civil engineering with possibly a master’s in hydrology. But that is nothing unusual when it comes to making decisions about subdivision construction and it is why governing boards oftentimes use peer-review consultants who do, in fact, have that education and experience to guide their decision-making.

            Thus, as the Mattapoisett Planning Board re-opened the hearing for a Form C subdivision known as Eldridge Estates planned for 8-plus acres off Prospect Road, G.A.F. Engineering’s peer-review letters were front and center.

            Developer and applicant Scott Snow, represented by Richard Rheaume of Prime Engineering, has in previous meetings complained bitterly that the peer-review process was, in part, the reason why he had to provide so many iterations of his plans. At one point during the prior May 8 meeting, Snow remarked on how he had to make “15 sets of plans”, costing him $1,000. But on this night, he simply said that Rheaume was prepared to answer any and all questions the board members might have.

            Rheaume read aloud from letters prepared by G.A.F. containing issues such as stormwater management, berms, test pit calculations for water re-charging purposes, inverters, road leveling, and a variety of what Rheaume dubbed “incidental” notes. In each case he declared that G.A.F.’s final comment was “nothing more required”, making that issue now a settled matter.

            After more than an hour, there was still the discussion of the issue of whether or not a large linden tree located at the entrance of what would become a private roadway, Parsons Lane, should remain or be removed. Then there were still the matters of a review of a homeowners’ association covenant and a final decision on roadway covenant versus cash surety.

            When asked whether or not Conservation Commission approval was in hand, Rheaume replied, “They want to work from the same plans you approve so they are waiting.  … Otherwise, they are satisfied.”

            Abutters were in attendance, but seemed to have fewer pointed questions about Snow’s ability to deliver a completed project, a concern voiced more than once by David Mee, 35 Pine Island Road. Mee had also questioned the width of the new shared roadway that would service the five-lot subdivision, believing it couldn’t handle fire trucks, a position he maintained again.

            And then there was that large linden tree. The issue of whether or not to remove the large tree was not finalized. When abutters were polled, they were in favor of leaving it in place in spite of articulated concerns by Planning Board member Janice Robbins and Highway Superintendent Barry Denham that it should be removed.

            Denham’s position is that the tree would make snow removal very difficult and, given that the residents of the future neighborhood could ask the Town to provide maintenance services such as snow removal, it was his opinion the tree needed to go.

            The Fire Chief Andrew Murray signing off on the roadway plan became an issue, as well. Planning Board members felt his response as to whether or not the roadway width, 20 feet, was sufficient for emergency vehicles was ambiguous. Murray had written of the roadway, “…although not ideal.” Ketchell asked that Murray give a more definitive response.

            The hearing was continued until the next meeting of the Mattapoisett Planning Board scheduled for June 3 at 7:00 pm in the Town Hall conference room.

Mattapoisett Planning Board

By Marilou Newell

Leave A Comment...