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Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes 05/12/11
Minutes of Meeting— May 12, 2011

The Hudson Board of Appeals met in the Selectmen’s Hearing Room, Town Hall, Hudson, Massachusetts.  At 7:30 p.m. Dorothy Risser called the meeting to order.
Present:        Dorothy Risser, Darja Nevits, James Smith, Christopher Tibbals and Teresa Vickery, Clerk.

Westridge, Extension Request & Additional Modifications
Present were:   David Eastridge, Thorndike Development, Project Manager
                Lloyd Geisinger, Thorndike Development, President

Ms. Risser asked the applicant if they wanted to continue the meeting, withdraw the petition or proceed with only four members.  She explained to the applicant that in order for approval the vote had to be unanimous.  Mr. Geisinger stated that he would like to proceed and asked if the Board would allow him to withdraw the petition later in the hearing if it did not look like a unanimous vote was likely.  The Board agreed.

Ms. Risser referred to a letter dated April 4, 2011 from Mr. Eastridge.  The letter stated that the special permit was due to expire on April 11, 2013.  At the time the letter was sent only fourteen homes had been conveyed of the 147 approved units.  The letter cited the number of homes and the expiration date as potential obstacles for future financing.  The applicant is therefore requesting the permit be extending an additional three years to April 11, 2016.  

The applicant is also looking for approval of a minor site modification which was previously approved by the Planning Board in 2008.  The proposed modification relates to the creation of a noise barrier as well as visual screening in the northeastern portion of the site.  The applicant is aware that they will also need to seek either a revocable license from the Board of Selectmen or a construction easement to complete the noise reduction barrier as contemplated.  

Mr. Eastridge explained that the proposed modification will be to the area adjacent to Hudson Light and Power (HLP).  The transformers from HLP make a humming sound which the applicant is trying to mitigate by way of a noise barrier.  The barrier will be constructed to reduce the sound and vibration coming from the sub-station.  The plan is to move the buildings further from the sub-station and build a 10 foot high stone faced rip-rap slope, the slope being one to one.   

The noise level at the common property line is approximately 6 – 10 decibels above the ambient normal range during the day and they are 11- 18 decibels during night time quiet hours.  DEP guidelines state that any number above 10 on a common property line is a violation.  

The grade differentials on the site made the solution more complex.  The grades with regard to HLP are 233 feet and the grade level on the development site is 290 feet.  This would cause the sound to rise right above any erected wall and move directly on to the site.  There was no easy way to build something on the HLP land because there are multiple wires and crisscrossing connections which could cause potential safety issues.  

The buildings closest to the common property line were originally designed as walk-outs.  The homes are now designed as attached in order to help reduce shield the rest of the site form some of the sound working almost as a sound barrier.  

The applicant is proposing to build a berm with a slight slope. The base of the berm is about 10 feet above the road.  A 12 foot high sound barrier will be built on the berm.  There is a flat landscaped area which will help reduce the amount of noise that would reach the homes.  

A grading easement will be required as well as a revocable license.  

A 20 foot wide strip of trees will need to be cut down to get access to the land to construct the slope and the berm.  

Ms. Risser asked if the 25 foot easement from HLP has been negotiated.  Mr. Eastridge clarified that the land is Town owned and not owned by HLP.  Mr. Geisinger stated that the only reason they need the easement is to get on the property and re-grade the land.  Once this is completed they will not have any further use for the easement.

Dorothy Risser, seconded by Darja Nevits, moved to go into deliberative session.

Vote: 4-0-0, Unanimous

Dorothy Risser, seconded by Darja Nevits, made a motion to approve the amendment to the original Petition and grant an extension of the special permit for Westridge to April 11, 2016 and to accept the modifications to the site plan as shown on the plan dated June 21, 2005 last revised December 12, 2007 as minor modifications with no further action required by the Planning Board contingent upon receipt of a revocable license with the Board of Selectmen or a construction easement in order to grade on Town of Hudson property.

Vote: 4-0-0, Unanimous

Darja Nevits, seconded by James Smith made a motion to come out of deliberative session.

Vote: 4-0-0, Unanimous


At 8:30 PM, Dorothy Risser, seconded by Darja Nevits, moved to adjourn.

Vote: 4-0-0, Unanimous  

Document List May 12, 2011

Minutes of April 14, 2011
Planning Office
Letter from David Eastridge dated April 4, 2011
Planning Office