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Planning Board Minutes 3/25/09

P.O. BOX 602
(508) 696-4270


DATE:                   March 25, 2009  

TIME:                           7:05 P.M.

ATTENDANCE:             Aldrin, Duart, Peak and Stephenson
ABSENT:                 Douglas

PLACE:                  Town Hall Annex

BILLS:  Patricia Harris...................................$879.60
        L. Anthony Peak……………………$ 10.37
MEETING MINUTES:        As referred in the March 18, 2009 Meeting Agenda
        18 March 2009 - Deferred


7:05 PM Fred LaPiana, DPW Dir., Jonathan Snyder and Joseph Tierney – Informal Discussions
        A)  Layout of the connector road,
B)      Leaching Field Article,
C)      Land exchange with Nstar (final sign off)

A) Mr. Peak noted that the Board was initially concerned that Article 13 bundled several town projects, and combined the appropriations into a lump sum of 4 million dollars. It concerned him that the 4 million dollar price tag would jeopardize the construction of the connector road. He mentioned that he had the opportunity to speak with Larry Gomez about the article, and understood the rationale for bundling all the projects.

Mr. LaPiana indicated that there were other issues he wanted to address with the Board relative to the connector road in addition to the warrant article he had submitted on the DPW’s behalf.  He mentioned that he had a plan of land prepared for the Planning Board’s endorsement, reflecting the 1,275 s.f. parcel (Lot B) NStar had agreed to sell to the Town as an easement for the development of the connector road.

Mr. LaPiana explained that the Town via the Board of Selectmen was prepared to conclude the transaction next week once the check for $7000.00 was cut.  

Following additional discussions, Mr. Peak noted that the division of land was essentially an easement over NStar’s easement, and did not create a buildable lot. Because the applicant did not create buildable lots, the proposal did not constitute a subdivision under the subdivision control law. Mr. Peak therefore entertained a motion to endorse the proposed division of land as an ANR. Mr. Duart so moved. Mr. Aldrin seconded the motion, which motion carried.  4/0/0

Mr. Peak recommended waiving the Form A application filing fee of $200.00, since the proposal was submitted on the Town’s behalf. Mr. Duart so moved.  Mr. Aldrin seconded the motion, and the motion carried.  4/0/0

B) Redesigning the Connector Road

Mr. LaPiana advised the Board that he was trying to address some of the issues that surfaced during the survey. Mr. Stephenson mentioned that the original proposal did not define a main road to the Park-N-Ride, and that the solution was to relocate the intersection. He submitted a revised site plan entitled “The Tisbury Connector Roads that was prepared by Schofield, Barbini & Hoehn Inc. pm 3/14/09 (Plan No. MV9888) illustrating the revisions he was proposing.

Mr. LaPiana mentioned that they also had to address the intersection by the DPW compound.  Mr. Peak inquired if they could move the salt shed to accommodate the road.  Mr. LaPiana indicated that it would present a different set of problems.  

Mr. Peak thought it important if they delineated all of the current uses, such as the leaching field, composting area(s), etc.  Mr. Stephenson agreed. He mentioned that in his discussions with the Tisbury Water Works Department, they informed him that they needed space for the second standpipe. Mr. LaPiana believed they could locate the 2nd standpipe in the same location they had the 1st standpipe.  Mr. Stephenson thought the map could help them determine how much space was still available for future use.  

Mr. LaPiana advised the Board that it was not a matter of space. The Tisbury Water Works Department controlled the use of the entire parcel including the DPW compound, so that any and all proposed uses required their approval. This could however change with their new charter.

Mr. Peak learned that the assessor maps were not accurate in the representation of the parcels, and inquired if the site plan accurately depicted the boundary lines. Mr. LaPiana replied in the affirmative. Mr. LaPiana also noted that he had met with Mr. James Lengyel of the MV Land Bank to ask him where he thought the pedestrian and bike paths should go relative to the connector road, and made a few suggestions.

Mr. LaPiana noted that there was another hurdle they had to contend with. If the layout was endorsed at Town Meeting, they still had to sell the proposal to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) as an amendment to the Post Closure Land Use Plan.  It was important to keep in mind that they include every amenity they’d like to have in the landfill site within their proposal so that they’d only have to approach DEP once.

Mr. Stephenson questioned whether they might include a proposal for the windmill, because the site they initially selected and tested was recently eliminated. Mr. LaPiana was not hopeful.  Mr. Stephenson hoped the capped areas could be used for a recreational complex such as a ball field, etc. and wanted to include a landscape design as part of the proposal.

Mr. LaPiana also noted that the Board of Health had been approached about the connector road, and supported the layout, including the use of the rip rap siding they had proposed to wrap around sections (areas A&B) of the landfill (i.e. 35 degree embankment) to protect the area from pedestrians.  The Board of Health was particularly concerned about the edge in Area B, which tended to attract bikers. The rap was a compromise to a chain link fence, which could be unsightly.

Mr. Stephenson asked Mr. LaPiana about the source of the funds for this project.  Mr. LaPiana replied that in a worst-case scenario they’d have to borrow the money and pay it off over a ten (10) year period.

With regards to Article 13, Mr. LaPiana explained that he had bundled several construction projects to take advantage of the low interest rates that were available, to minimize repayment over a ten year period, to supplement the shortfall in state funds, and to repair town roads while labor and material were not as expensive due to the economy.  Mr. LaPiana indicated that he had submitted the article when he heard the Emergency Facility Services withdrew their article for a new fire station, in hopes that the town would consider a four (4) million dollar request that addressed several maintenance and repair projects. Of the four (4) million, two and a half million were earmarked for the construction of the connector road.

Mr. Duart inquired about oversight. He wanted to know what mechanism, if any were in place to prevent Mr. LaPiana from using funds earmarked for a particular project from being used to pay other projects.

Mr. LaPiana noted that the DPW Commissioners, as elected officials were responsible for the oversight. Mr. Duart explained that he had raised the subject because he was having difficulty supporting the article without having any direct say via a vote about the expenditures.

Mr. LaPiana referred the Board to the handout he had provided for tonight’s discussions, entitled Road and Sidewalk-Work Bond Issue Proposal-5 Year Program in which he listed all of the streets and sidewalks that required repair in addition to the estimated costs. In all he needed $1,316,000.00 for this portion of the article, $110,000.00 for N. William and Pine Tree, $35,000.00 for the Park-N-Ride, $30,000.00 for the School Zone and $2,500,000.00 for the construction of the connector road.  He felt they had to trust the DPW Commissioners and Department to do the job.

Mr. Stephenson thought it important not to start micromanaging departments, because it had the potential of undermining the department’s efficiency.

Jonathan Snyder noted that part of the Finance Committee’s responsibility on reviewing and recommending budgets is to follow up with the departments to inquire about their progress and success.

Mr. Stephenson noted that Mr. LaPiana in his comments mentioned that he had submitted the article when the Emergency Services Facility withdrew their article. He explained that they withdrew the request for appropriations because they were not prepared. They opted to present their proposal at a Special Town Meeting in the fall. The 4 million dollar request may have an impact on the fire station. Mr. Snyder indicated that it was going to compete with other requests, such as post employment benefits, and other big ticket items that have been postponed over the years.

Mr. Peak calculated that Mr. LaPiana was proposing to spend $900,000.00 for the next five years, which meant there would not be a need for these expenditures the following three years.  Mr. LaPiana replied in the affirmative, explaining that they would be returning for maintenance, not resurfacing.

Mr. Aldrin inquired if it allowed for the underground installation of power. Mr. LaPiana replied in the negative. Mr. Aldrin recommended posting the program and the expenditures on the website to allow the town to see the progress for themselves.

Mr. Duart inquired about the need to replace the streetlights at the school. Mr. LaPiana replied that they were antiquated. One had to be replaced because it was no longer secured to the ground.

Mr. Peak inquired if the lights they planned to replace at the Park-N-Ride were shielded downward. Mr. LaPiana replied in the negative, explaining that they were going to use LED lights.

Mr. Peak inquired if the town had conducted a survey locating potential sites for leaching fields when they were planning for the wastewater treatment plant. Mr. LaPiana did not think they did an extensive look, because they never considered the property next to the golf course.   Mr. LaPiana noted that there were gaps in the existing data, particularly in the information about the watershed boundaries for Tashmoo Pond and Lagoon Pond. This was important because they know DEP will be requiring towns across the Commonwealth to address the nitrogen levels and phosphate levels intruding in the smaller bodies of water.  With current technology, homeowners near and within the watersheds do not have access to systems that will reduce the nitrogen loading into the watersheds that meet DEP’s standards. This will impact the properties on West Spring Street, Oklahoma Ave., and Lagoon Road. Mr. LaPiana believed the only way to reduce the nitrogen levels from the resident home sites near Tashmoo Pond and Lagoon Pond was by connecting them to the wastewater treatment plant.  He calculated that they’d have to accommodate an additional 250,000 gallons per day.

Because they need to do more research, Mr. LaPiana submitted an article for $50,000.00 to cover the cost for a preliminary study for the purpose of developing a professional program that will help them identify the watershed boundaries and locate potential leaching field sites.

Mr. Stephenson also understood that the Steamship Authority wanted to unload their septage at our treatment facility. He asked if this was correct. Mr. LaPiana replied in the affirmative, noting that he had met with Wayne Lamson, the SSA’s General Mgr. to learn that the Coast Guard was going to designate the outer harbor a “no discharge zone” so that they had to find an alternative means of disposing their wastewater.  He estimated that they would be discharging 5000 gallons per day to bring them extremely close to the facility’s threshold. Mr. LaPiana noted that the Sewer Board has not received a formal request from the SSA.

Board members discussed the potential financial costs involved to expand the wastewater treatment facility, and its impact on other town projects. Mr. LaPiana understood that the SSA was looking into alternative treatment systems that will allow them to discharge their effluent into the harbor. Although there may be some for residential home sites, Mr. LaPiana did not think they would be able to reduce the phosphorus and nitrogen discharges over 70%.

This led Mr. Stephenson to inquire if this eliminated the Emergency Services Facility from connecting to the treatment plant. Mr. LaPiana assured the Board that there was no danger of excluding the EFS from connecting to the treatment plant.

Mr. LaPiana advised the Board that there was an article on the warrant for Special Town Meeting proposing to hook up the school to the treatment plan. Board already voted to install the pipe they had planned for the ESF at the Town Hall Annex site. All they had to do was connect them to the pipe.

There being no further questions from the Board, Mr. LaPiana and Mr. Snyder departed.

Board members discussed the possibility of referring the project to the MV Commission. Mr. Stephenson believed the project had a regional impact on the island and should be referred.  Mr. Peak deferred to the DRI Checklist and found that it met the criteria for a DRI.

Board members were concerned about the timing of the referral, and thought it important to solicit Mr. LaPiana’s, the Finance Committee’s and the Board of Selectmen’s opinion on the matter before they voted on the referral.

7:25 PM         Joseph Tierney, ESF Chairman  

Mr. Tierney met with the Planning Board to update them on the ESF Committee’s progress now that they were preparing to enter into the design phase of the project. He mentioned that they had a total of 16 architects respond to their RFP, all of who had vast experience and qualifications for their project. The Committee however narrowed down their choice to four candidates, and anticipated that the final recipient would be decided upon by the end of April.

Mr. Tierney indicated that they wanted to inaugurate the design phase with a public meeting, in which they planned to invite town boards and department heads in the hopes of building a consensus on the design of the building.

Mr. Tierney stated that they were going to start the planning phase with the feasibility study. Mr. Aldrin was of the impression that the state had certain standards or codes, so that the decisions were limited to floor plan and the aesthetics of the exterior. Mr. Tierney indicated that they were required to have a minimum of five (5) double deep bays and a section for administration. Because they were merging three (3) departments, they had to design a building that could accommodate as many as 80 people.

Mr. Tierney added that they’ve added a new component to the study. They wanted a traffic study of the feeder roads around the ESF building and the school.

Mr. Stephenson reminded the Board that they had to look into leasing, renting or buying property to relocate the town hall annex departments. Mr. Duart noted that they had to factor the time the Superintendent’s Office needed to relocate at the Edgartown School.

Mr. Tierney mentioned that the school did not want to offer the Superintendent a long-term lease, so that they were now looking at a location by the regional high school.

It was Mr. Tierney’s impression that if they obtained the town’s approval in the Fall at a special town meeting, the committee intended to have an RFP prepared by December 2009, award the bid by January 10, 2010 and break ground by February/March 2010.

Mr. Stephenson thought the Planning Board had to look into a feasibility study for the site at the DPW Compound. Mr. Tierney understood the Board of Selectmen may have funds available for the feasibility study.

Mr. Tierney believed the Committee would have a good estimate of the construction costs by August 2009, so that they should be prepared to make a presentation at special town meeting.


1. Sai Mai Thai Restaurant located at 18 State Road in Tisbury, MA  

Mr. Stephenson noted that the proposal for the restaurant at the above location was recently remanded to the Zoning Board of Appeals because they did not believe the use qualified as a DRI.

This concerned Mr. Stephenson because there were several issues with the proposal that could prove to be disruptive to the immediate area. He mentioned that the applicant was renovating a building that was originally a single-family residence, then an art gallery into a full service restaurant with a seating capacity of 56 and an additional 16 seats on the patio.  He questioned whether the applicant had sufficient space to accommodate that many seats. He doubted that the applicant could accommodate the parking she would need to serve the restaurant. And what concerned him the most was the traffic flow in the rear parking area, which could probably accommodate 8-9 spaces. If all of the spaces were in use he was not sure that people would be able to turn around and leave to look for parking elsewhere. If the applicant was allowed to share the abutting properties’ parking areas and access from the rear, it would channel the traffic flow out of the property to reduce its impact on Main Street.  This did not even address the issue he had with the left hand turns into and out of the property.

Mr. Duart inquired about the purpose for the discussion. Mr. Peak noted that all town boards are notified of the applications and asked for their comments. It was not unusual for the Planning Board to express their concerns with certain proposals, if they believed it was warranted.   He explained Mr. Stephenson was asking the Planning Board if they would allow him to represent them at the restaurant’s hearing with the Board of Appeals to express the issues he had with the proposal.  Board members did not object.


1. Tisbury Zoning Board of Appeals
A.      Public Hearing Notice – Pissamai Green, AP 09A04
B.      Public Hearing Notice – Philip & Marion Kistler, AP 28C01
C.      Special Permit #1164 – Michael Ryan, AP 22C05
D.      Special Permit #1167 – Michael Ryan, AP 7N04
E.      Special Permit #1170 – John & Nora Kerr, AP 6C32

2. Tisbury Conservation Commission
RE: Public Hearing Notice – Isabel West, AP 31A6

3. Oak Bluffs Planning Board
A.      Public Hearing Notice – Zoning Map Amendment
B.      Public Hearing Notice – Zoning Bylaw Amendment (Affordable Housing)

4. Massachusetts Municipal Association
RE: TheBeacon, March 2009

PRO FORM        Meeting opened, conducted and closed in due form at 9:30 P.M.           (m/s/c  4/0/0)          
Respectfully submitted;
Patricia V. Harris, Secretary

APPROVAL:       Approved and accepted as official minutes;

______________            _________________________
Date                    Henry Stephenson