7:00 PM 74 Abington Street Continuation of Site Plan Review Hearing
7:45 PM Continuation of Public Hearing on Proposed Amendments to the Zoning By-Law
• Article 4 (Site Plan Review for Exempt Uses)
• Article 6 (Modifications to Off-Street Parking Regulations)
Form A – 75 Elm Street
Discussion of proposed general warrant article to designate South Pleasant Street a “Scenic Road” under MGL Chapter 40 Section 15C
Comment Letter to DEP re: 26 Summer Street due January 28
Central Meeting Room North ________
Present: Planning Board Members, Paul Healey, Chair, Sarah Corey, Clerk, Judy Sneath
and Gary Tondorf-Dick. Also present was Planner Katharine Lacy.
RE: 74 Abington Street Continuation of Site Plan Review Hearing
Present for the Applicant: John Barry, Mike Richardson, owners, and Greg Morse, Mackenzie Engineering.
This is the continuation of a Hearing initiated on November 26, 2007. Greg Morse from MacKenzie Engineering spoke on behalf of the Applicant. The Applicant seeks Site Plan Approval in association with an application for a building permit in accordance with Section I-H of the Zoning By-Law for the construction of a 15,000 s.f. light industrial/office building on approximately 10.2 acres in the Industrial Park District and South Hingham Overlay District. The building will include 7,500 s.f. of General Business Office/Sales showroom, and 7,500 s.f. of Warehouse/Industrial. At this point the applicant has entered into discussions with a potential tenant.
Ms. Lacy reported that, since the last hearing, she and Paul Brogna had met with the engineer and property owner on Tuesday, January 8 to go over Paul’s outstanding questions regarding site drainage, grading, parking, site distances, lighting, snow storage, trash storage and removal, etc. The applicant’s consultant had re-drawn the plans in response to Mr. Brogna’s comments, and submitted these plans back to the Board on January 11, 2008. Mr. Brogna’s response, dated January 14, 2008 was delivered to the Board at the hearing.
Mr. Morse reported that they had met with the Conservation Commission the previous week, and that their review was basically complete pending Planning Board approval of the Site Plan.
Mr. Mackenzie noted that, in response to Planning Board comments, the number of parking spaces had been reduced to 43. He also presented site distance information from the proposed site driveway indicating that, with selective clearing in the Town right-of-way, site distances met industry standards. Mr. Morse indicated that he had met with Joe Stigliani who had informed him that the project would require a Street Tree hearing for any trees that they needed to remove in the right-of-way. He also discussed the fact that the plans indicated a certain amount of landscaping in the right of way. Board members asked whether he had discussed this use of the right-of way with the DPW because it would require a street opening permit, and Mr. Morse indicated that he had. Ms. Lacy said that she would check back with Joe Stigliani.
Paul Healey expressed concern about a pre-existing drainage problem in this area on Abington Street. There is a clogged culvert in the roadway that washes out onto adjacent property. Mr. Morse said that this issue was associated with 80 Abington Street, and was not related to this property. Mr. Healey stated that the whole roadway washes out at this point, and his suspicion was that the water would ultimately drain onto the property at 74 Abington.
Sarah Corey noted that it looked like it would be difficult to turn around in the parking lot. Greg noted that they had added a 7’ turn-out area, and also noted that, in all likelihood, the parking lot would not be full.
Gary Tondorf-Dick expressed concern at the width of the driveway (40’) and asked whether it could be reduced. Mr. Barry indicated that the driveway was that wide to accommodate a tractor trailer that the tenant had indicated would be arriving on a weekly basis. Board members encouraged the applicant to look at reducing the width of the driveway. Gary also expressed concern about the need to cut down some very mature trees in order to create the driveway opening, and asked whether the driveway couldn’t be moved a bit to the east to avoid a particularly large Beech Tree. Mr. Barry said that they would look into the possibility of narrowing the driveway entrance, and would also determine how to revise the plan so as to reduce the need to cut down trees in the right-of-way.
Mr. Morse went onto explain that the building would have a complete sprinkler system, and would be wired into the public safety alarm system. He noted that he did not yet have a completed lighting plan as requested by Paul Brogna, but explained that lighting would consist of a single street light on the west side of the parking lot, and “wall-pack” lighting affixed to the corners of the building for security. Board members asked about hours of operation, and Mr. Barry explained that the business would most likely have normal hours of operation.
Gary Tondorf-Dick and Sarah Corey asked about the 2:1 slope shown of the area around the building. Mr. Morse responded that this steep slope was requested by the Conservation Commission in an effort to keep earthwork away from the wetland buffer. In response to concerns about potential erosion on this slope, Mr. Morse noted that a jute mesh would be put in place along with the Conservation plan mix. He also noted that industry standards state that for fills over 10’ a 2:1 ratio is acceptable. Mr. Healey asked if there would be a guard rail, and Mr. Morse responded that a wood guard rail would be located at the top of the slope at the rear of the building. Ms. Lacy noted that because the project was n the Conservation Commission’s jurisdiction that they would be required to issue a Certificate of Compliance with stormwater and erosion control measures.
Paul Brogna noted that he still needed the photometric plan to conclude his review, as noted by Mr. Morse. He also questioned whether the applicant had met the requirement for screening from the public way as set forth in Special Condition 2 of the Intensity Requirements. Judy Sneath noted that the placement of the parking aisle right on the property boundary was somewhat unsightly, and asked whether the angled parking against the side of the building could be replaced with parallel parking, and additional screening added along the roadway edge.
Chairman Healey concluded that before the Site Plan Review could be concluded, that the applicant should return with a lighting plan and completed landscape plan. Additionally, the Board was seeking confirmation from DPW that the proposed work in the right-of-way was acceptable to them. The hearing was continued to January 28 or February 4, depending on whether the agenda opened up on the 28th.
RE: Amendments to the Zoning By-Law
Article 4-Site Plan review for Exempt Uses
Jim Toomey met with the Board to discuss Article 4, which is intended to amend the Zoning By-law by clarifying the Site Plan Review process for exempt religious, educational and agricultural uses. Mr. Toomey noted that currently our By-law prohibits or requires a Special Permit for a variety of uses that are, in fact, exempt from zoning. The By-Law needs to be modified to indicate that these are permitted uses. That said, the State statute does allow Towns to conduct Site Plan Review and impose “reasonable regulations” in terms of setbacks, parking, traffic, etc.
Mr. Toomey stated that the draft article that he provided the Board would be revised and resubmitted to also address agricultural uses, which are also not handled appropriately in the current by-law. Ms. Lacy noted that the Attorney General had actually notified the Town that the provisions for agricultural uses currently in the Hingham Zoning By-Law were in violation of the legal exemption.
The Board discussed whether it was legitimate to require a Special Permit A3 for Parking Determinations for exempt uses. The Off-Street Parking Regulations state that where there is no parking requirement set forth for a certain use (like schools) that the Planning Board determines the amount of parking required through a Special Permit A3. In the past, the Special Permit A3 for parking determinations had been required of exempt uses as well as non-exempt uses. Mr. Toomey noted that in the case of exempt uses, parking should be reviewed through the Site Plan Review process, and a Special Permit cannot be required.
Planning Board members went on to discuss proposed Article 6, which entails a variety of changes to the Off-Street Parking Regulations. Ms. Lacy explained that a small group including Jerry Seelen, Gary Tondorf-Dick, Judy Sneath and Dick Cook met the previous week to go over the proposed changes, and the result of this meeting was to sift out many of the proposals, largely because they were already addressed satisfactorily in other sections of the By-Law. Board members did resolve to recommend the following changes to the By-Law:
Item 1 At the Table at Section V-A (2) Off-Street Parking Requirements,
a. Change the entry in the column entitled “Requirement” at the row for Medical and Dental offices from “6 Spaces/Doctor or Dentist” to “1 space per 175 SF of GFA”.
b. Warehousing and Wholesaling from 1 ¼ space per 1000 GFA to 1 space per 1000 SF GFA
Item 2 At Section V-A (3), Parking Dimension Requirements, in the “Table of Parking Dimensions”,
a. Under “Parallel Parking Spaces” change the minimum required width from 9’ to 8.5’.
b. Under “Aisle Width”, change the required minimum aisle width for parallel parking from 24’ to 14’.
Board members decided to continue the discussion of whether pervious pavers could be used as surfaces in regular or overflow parking areas. They also decided to defer the discussion of whether the parking table should read “Based on a Special Permit A2” or “Based on a Special Permit A3” for the use group including “Hospitals, Public Buildings, Private Schools, Museums, Stadiums, Arenas, Transportation Terminals.”
It was moved, seconded and SO VOTED, unanimously, by those present to accept the minutes of October 16, 2007, December 10, 2007, December 17, 2007, January 3, 2008 and January 7, 2008.
RE: Scenic Road Designation
Ms. Jane Davis, a resident of South Pleasant, contacted the Town Planner to inquire how to get South Pleasant Street designated as a Scenic Road. Ms. Lacy noted that, according to the statute, the Planning Board, Conservation Commission or Historical Commission needs to recommend such designation, and an article needs to be submitted for consideration at Town Meeting. Ms. Davis provided the Board with a packet of information including photos and historical descriptions of the roadway.
It was moved, seconded, and SO VOTED, unanimously, by all present to recommend that Town Meeting designate South Pleasant Street as a scenic roadway.
It was moved, seconded and SO VOTED, to endorse the Form A plan entitled, “Plan of Land Elm Street, Hingham Plymouth County, MA.”, dated, December 12, 2007, prepared by Yunits Engineering Co., Holbrook, MA for Carmine Nigro, 75 Elm Street, Hingham, MA, owner and applicant.
Comment Letter to DEP re: 26 Summer Street due January 24
Ms. Lacy reminded the Board that the comment period for Mr. Hastings application to make permanent the twelve temporary slips attached to the marina operation at 26 Summer Street would close January 24. Mr. Healey instructed Katy to draft a letter for Board review.
The meeting adjourned at 10:15 PM.