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Planning Board Minutes 02/25/2015


P.O. BOX 602
(508) 696-4270
Fax (508) 696-7341


DATE:           February 25, 2015       
TIME:           6:10 PM

PLACE:          Town Hall Annex, 66 High Point Lane

ATTENDANCE:     Doble, Peak, Reece, Robinson, Seidman

ABSENT:         Thompson

BILLS:          Staples………………………………..$119.09

MINUTES:                As referred in the February 18, 2015 Meeting Agenda
B. Robinson moved to accept the minutes of 18 February 2015 with one typographical correction. L. Peak seconded the motion. 4/0/0


6:15 PM Public Hearing Cont. – Form C Application by Paul D. Adler for 14 Pine Street Realty Trust, AP 24A24
        Attendance: Please refer to signature sheet

D. Seidman, Planning Board Chairman read an abridged notice of the hearing at the opening of the continuation at 6:15 PM. He informed the Board that they had received a letter from J. McAninch and B. Sumner dated 23 February 2015 in opposition to the new location of the subdivision road. Said letter was read into the record and placed in the applicant’s file.  

P. Adler indicated that he had moved the access to the subdivision to the north land and in the process moved the lot line between Lots 1 & 2 to make them equivalent in land area.  The two walking easements that were part of the plan was accidently omitted on the revised plan, but not removed from the proposal. It was an oversight, the surveyor promised to correct. The area designated for ‘open space’ was modified but not combined as D. Seidman requested. Open Space Area A & B were lineated for illustration purposes but not severed as separate parcels from Lot 4 & 5.

P. Alder discussed the Board’s request with his attorney, who advised him that if the town did not exercise their option to purchase the parcels of land designated for open space within the 3 year limitation, it would unnecessarily encumber the property. In order to comply with the Board’s request, his attorney recommending adding a note on the plan stating “Open Space Restriction shall be removed three years after the date of the recording of this plan if not purchased by the Town of Tisbury. In the event that the Town of Tisbury purchases Open Space Areas A & B, a plan will be prepared that combines Open Space Areas A & B into one lot”.

P. Adler informed the Board that he had the surveyor locate the trees with a dba of 18 inches on a separate plan. He noted that 99% of the abutters appeared to prefer the relocation of the subdivision road accept for J. McAninch, which was expected.  P. Adler did not think the abutter understood that he had proposed a tree lined buffer between the road and J. McAninch’s property to screen the road from his view. D. Hoehn submitted an overlay plan, he had prepared that illustrated all of the trees on the property with a dba of 18 in.+ and the tree lined buffer.  He adjusted the profile to reflect the new location of the road. It did not change the topography.

D. Hoehn did not provide drainage calculations, because he decided to use D. Cooper’s soil test results, which were recently done and within the limits allowed by the Title V.  The seven leaching basins he was proposing for the 700 ft. subdivision road was in excess of the number (every 200 ft.) required for 24 year storm level. D. Hoehn referred the Board to the Layout Plan to illustrate the locations of the catch basins all the way down to the hammerhead. He explained that the finished road at the hammerhead was going to be  pitched .5% from the center towards both ends, so that the storm water would drain into the two catch basins. Since the entire road was going to be bermed, the road surface run-off would remain within the traveled way until it reached one of the catch basins.

D. Hoehn indicated that he added 26X36 rectangular shaped boxes on each lot to represent the approximate locations of the building envelopes. He noted that the applicant wanted to retain the right to adjust their locations due to the topography or the actual building design. P. Adler added that he was thinking of constructing two-story, 2000 sq. ft. buildings.  B. Robinson inquired about the number of bedrooms. P. Adler replied 3 – 4 bedrooms. B. Robinson inquired about the size of the leaching fields for a 3/4 bedroom home. D. Hoehn replied that it would require approximately 2000 sq. ft. (30X40 or 30X50) of land area without the land area required for a reserve.

D. Hoehn mentioned that he was scheduled to meet with the Board of Health the previous week, but was advised that the meeting had been cancelled due to an administrative error. He spoke with M. Valley, Health Agent Assistant regarding the applicant’s plan and was advised that the Board of Health Commissioners had the opportunity to review the information they requested of the applicant and did not have any issues with the proposal. M. Valley indicated that he would contact the Administrative Secretary or D. Seidman to confirm the information. He assumed she had. D. Seidman noted for the record that he had not been contacted by M. Valley, in the secretary’s absence (due to illness).

B. Robinson  had a question about the accuracy of  road profile. He thought the slope was far steeper than depicted on the plan.  It appeared more like 12%. D. Hoehn noted that it jumped from 70 – 82 within 100 ft. was approximately 12% (within maximum allowance).   D. Hoehn noted the error, and offered to re-check the grades and correct the text on the 4th rev. B. Robinson thought it was also important to look at the locations of the dwellings given that they’d have to denude the parcels to accommodate the buildings and leaching fields.  It was a consideration they could not ignore.  He also inquired about determining the depth of a lot, and asked if the entire lot had to be at least 80 ft. deep to meet the requirement.  L. Peak replied that the developer was allowed one odd-shaped lot. He believed that they had to meet the 80 ft. depth requirement at the building line.

C. Doble thought the slope at the entrance should be decrease from 7% to 4%  for  a distance of 50 ft.  D. Hoehn acknowledged, and offered to revise the slope and to include the details on the plan.  C. Doble remained concerned about the two rear lots, which will be absorbing the runoff from the road during a good storm.  D. Hoehn explained that the additional catch basin that was stationed down the middle of the steep slope would help absorb the run-off.  C. Doble worried that the storm water would run past the catch basin down a steep slope through the hammerhead and into the two rear lots.  D. Hoehn understood, and explained that the system he proposed would work provided they crowned the road enough to direct the water to the side of the road.  B. Robinson inquired how they could detail what was sufficient for the road. The regulations required a pitch of  ¼ inch per foot.  D. Hoehn inquired what C. Doble would like for the applicant to provide. She inquired if they had drainage calculations for the storm water system he was recommending. D. Hoehn replied in the negative. She asked if he ever thought of using or designing a detention capacity by the hammerhead. D. Hoehn offered to address C. Doble’s concern with the addition of a notation on the plan stating “All road runoff shall be retained within the constructed road and handled by the drainage structures proposed by the applicant”.

D. Seidman indicated that he has always had issues with the proposal’s potential impact on water quality, and attended the presentation on the Massachusetts’s Estuary’s Project to inquire about watershed’s boundaries. He learned that the boundary could change 500 ft. within a year, so that it was possible that a significant portion of the property could contribute nitrogen to the Tashmoo Watershed. It’s led him to question whether this type of density would have been encouraged if they were developing their regulations today. He thought it raised questions about issues the town did not have the ability to address in their regulations, but that could be referred to the MV Commission for their assistance.  D. Seidman noted that the towns of Chilmark and Edgartown have referred smaller subdivisions to the MV Commission.

D. Hoehn indicated that he was currently involved with the Mullen Way subdivision, and explained that it was referred to the MV Commission because there was a question about the open space lot, which has since been resolved.  He did not know how they could address a future change in the MV Commission’s boundary for the watershed. D. Seidman explained that there was a strong margin of error in their statistics due to the scientific method they employed.  It made him question whether they should allow the number of lots.

L. Peak commented that they had to balance their concerns with the rights of the property owner    He agreed that they were all valid, but felt  there was a point at which time they had to make a decision whether or not they could continue the review process in all good conscious without the assistance of a “ higher authority” .   He noted that they had to make sure that their concerns could be addressed in the documentation of the decision in such a way that a remedy could be pursued if the applicant did not perform to their minimum specifications.

D. Reece shared D. Seidman’s concern with nitrogen, and attended the MEPs presentation. D. Reece thought he heard differently, in that he understood the watershed lines could move 20 ft. on an annual basis. D. Seidman disagreed and heard 500 ft.  D. Reece thought it was important to clear the discrepancy in the information, because it made a difference for him personally.  He noticed that in the second revision the applicant added a 50 ft. “No cut” zone, and asked if he would consider a similar buffer for the abutters on the northern property line.  P. Adler replied that he had a 10 ft. wide buffer around every common boundary and around the entire perimeter of the development.

D. Reece inquired if P. Adler would give the town the open space areas (A & B) at the expiration of the three year  period.  P. Adler declined to respond, and explained that he was concerned that  the town’s future plans for the land area would impinge on the private property owners.. It was suggested that the applicant could place a deed restriction, or eliminate the three year limitation.

D. Reece inquired if there was a way the Board could obligate the applicant to fix the drainage issues via bond or any other method. D. Hoehn thought it was a condition for the homeowners association.  D. Reece was familiar with the documents, and was a member of such association, but has seen where the roads were not kept property with an association in place. He’d like to prevent the drainage issues he’s observed at Fairwinds. D. Hoehn explained that the permeable road surface was requirement from the MV Commission.

D. Seidman opened the discussions to the public and asked for the proponents. The Mercers from Chilmark owned property at 169 Pine Street and stated that they did not oppose the subdivision per se, but were concerned about the number of lots (density) and wastewater.

XXX, Corbo’s representative indicated that his clients were very interested in relocating down island, specifically Tisbury for its year round accommodations and proximity to the SSA. They very much want to live in the historic house on the property, and intend to invest in the building to bring it back to its former glory. While it was not part of the development, the property was going to be impacted by the development.

C. Dorr, and abutter to Lot 4 remained concerned about the runoff from the peak of the road, towards the hammerhead and into his property.  He noted that they did not discuss the location of the driveways, and believed their locations could have an impact on storm water flow to abutting properties, if not located properly.  He inquired about the buffer zone. D. Seidman clarified that there would be a 20 ft. buffer between the lots and a 10 ft. buffer all along the perimeter. L. Peak clarified that it pertained to the trees over six inches in diameter at the base.  B. Robinson referred to the applicant’s covenants. Entry number seven stated “No trees on the lot which are in excess of 6 inches in diameter at the base shall  be removed within 10 ft. of any perimeter of any lot border , except for minimal removal  that’s  necessary for driveway access without the approval in writing of said president.  B. Robinson did not think the language clearly conveyed the 10 ft. buffer as a “No Cut” zone.  C. Doble thought the applicant could edit the language to clarify the exceptions.

P. Artru was concerned about the trees, and amazed at the island’s continued  use of septic tanks  central sewer is the norm everywhere else. He thought it was important to have continuous sidewalks on both sides of the road, and restrictions on any proposal for lighting (downward facing). He thought the development should be required to connect to the town sewer if it became available, and felt the development’s overall scope was large for the area.

L. Artru, an abutter on Spring Street expressed a concerned about the potential runoff from the development to the abutting properties, and its impact on water quality, specifically the Tashmoo Watershed.

C. Creanga, an abutter at the corner of Pine Street and Spring Street reiterated his concern about the subdivision road’s runoff onto his property, and recommended asking the applicant for a landscape design for each of the properties to protect the abutters from the potential light pollution.

A. Cywinski, an abutter on 191 Spring Street provided photographs of the topography between the applicant’s property to the corner of her property to illustrate the severity of the slope, and the potential for storm water runoff into one of the rear lots. She too attended the Mass Estuary Project presentation and spoke with the MV Commission about the Tashmoo Watershed. A. Cywinski confirmed hearing that the boundary could move 500 ft. within a year, and that the Board could refer a plan with as little as four lots to the MV Commission.  The MV Commission subsequently confirmed to her that it was well within their purview to send them the proposal.

An unidentified male speaker favored the 10 ft. “No Cut” buffer zone, but thought the applicant should have the right to cut down a dead tree within the buffer zone if presented a safety hazard.

An unidentified male speaker explained the distinction between a discretionary and mandatory referral, noting that the Mullen proposal had to be referred because it was over 30 acres, and over 10 lots. D. Hoehn clarified that the open space lot was not considered a building lot, thus resolving the issue.

D. Hoehn believed the applicant has worked with the Board and provided them with the information they’ve request. He did not think the project required a regional review given that they had regulations in place for these projects. D. Seidman understood, but felt there were times that certain aspects of a proposal such as the public good, health and town’s character had to be safeguarded, which were within the MV Commission’s purview. D. Hoehn asked D. Seidman to specify the issue(s) he had with the proposal. D. Seidman replied that it had to do with density, so that he would prefer seeing the scope reduced to 5 -6 lots.  D. Reece thought the applicant could offer to connect the lots to the town sewer. P. Adler has been a contractor for 40 years, and specialized in constructing homes on hilly lots, similar to the topography on 14 Pine Street.  He was concerned that the discussion would mar his reputation. He was assured that no one was questioning the quality of his work or reputation. P. Adler did not think the MV Commission’s decisions have always benefited the towns, and presented examples of decisions that have undermined the integrity of a proposal. He believed they could work out their differences locally.

D. Seidman acknowledged the applicant’s concerns and reiterated that he would prefer seeing the proposal scaled down to five lots, have a portion of the rear section deeded as an easement for a retention-detention area, have a no-cut zone, and prohibit guesthouses.

B. Robinson indicated that he wanted the walking easements preserved on the property, and the applicant agreed. The dead-end streets were not the best for the community. If they’ve required past applicants to connect the subdivision roads with one another it would encourage people to venture into the neighborhoods that comprise their community. This was not feasible. He understood the public’s request for landscaping, but it was important to realize that it had to be thought out well, so that it wasn’t cumbersome to maintain. It had to serve its purpose, which was to give each lot a little bit of separation from each other. People ordinarily planted their borders.  With regards to the number of lots, he too would like to see fewer lots, but the zoning district permitted the eight lots under consideration. It appeared that the applicant had complied with the regulations minimum requirements.

C. Doble agreed with B. Robinson’s comments, and thought she would like to see more of an interconnection between the neighborhoods to make them walkable. Her preference however was to see the applicant reduce the number of lots, and to leave the rear (Lots 4 & 5) undeveloped.  She too wanted to hold the applicant or homeowners accountable to address storm water issue that may arise in the future. But she would prefer having the applicant address them in the design phase so that the system he was recommending was both adequate and attractive. D. Hoehn thought these issues could be addressed as conditions to their determination.

L. Peak did not believe that the solutions employed 40 years ago may not necessarily be appropriate or adequate today. He offered to review the association documents with the Board Secretary, and noted that the issue with the storm water mitigation was often not the proposed system, but its maintenance. It was an issue that should be clearly addressed in the homeowners’ association’s documents.

D. Reece inquired if there were small package treatment plants that would remove more nitrogen for this development. D. Hoehn replied in the affirmative, but noted that it was not the solution they were proposing today. There were add-ons (enhanced or advance treatments) to the septic system that were much more efficient and cost-effective to reduce the nitrogen levels.  D. Reece understood that an enhanced system worked if it was used year round.  D. Hoehn clarified that it hinged upon their use. P. Adler was aware of a system created by a company in Bourne that reduces the nitrogen by 40%. The drawback was that the filter system had to be changed annually to work effectively.  He could not connect to the town sewer, because it would not be available for another 10 years, and this was not guaranteed by the DPW Director.

B. Robinson asked for a revised road profile. D. Hoehn offered to provide the drainage calculations, and add bio-retention areas in the shoulders. C. Doble thought it could be designed to protect the buildings in the rear lots.  D. Seidman noted that they did not want guest houses.  P. Adler indicated that he added language in the association’ covenants to prohibit guesthouses. D. Hoehn understood that he was to correct the data for the slopes, and revise the slope for the first 50 ft at the entrance. B. Robinson questioned whether the ¼ in per ft. standard for slopes was appropriate for the subdivision road. He wondered if D. Hoehn had calculations to substantiate that the standard slope was adequate. D. Hoehn replied in the negative.

L. Peak asked D. Hoehn if he planned to reverse the grade where the two retention basins were located on Pine Street. D. Hoehn replied in the affirmative, but offered to provide additional details (i.e. negative runoff from Pine Street a certain distance) on the road profile.

P. Artru inquired if the subdivision road will serve as the existing dwellings. He was advised that it would continue have access via the existing driveway. B. Robinson asked P. Adler for his plans once he made a cut into the stone wall for the entrance. P. Adler thought he’d a retention wall with the same fieldstone.

A.Cywinski questioned how the applicant intended to address the runoff from Lots 3 & 4, because they currently drained into the abutting back yards. B. Robinson inquired if she’s observed runoff with existing conditions. A. Cywinski replied in the negative.  She was also concerned about the liability issues that could result from the removal of the vegetation and trees.  She explained that without the vegetation, the storm water could run down her property into the abutting lot. An unidentified male abutter agreed that it was an unknown circumstance, and difficult to respond.  

D. Seidman asked the Board if they wanted to continue the hearing, vote on the proposal or vote to refer the application to the MV Commission. He mentioned that they could continue the hearing on March 11, 2015. B. Robinson moved to continue the hearing on March 11, 2015 at 6:15 PM. L. Peak seconded the motion, and the motion carried.  4/0/0

The Board resumed their regularly scheduled meeting at 8:02 PM


  • Vision Planning
RE:  Potential locations for visiting students

C. Doble mentioned that she did not have the opportunity to speak with the MV Museum’s Executive Dir. David Nathan about the use of the DAR building on Main Street, but wanted to discuss alternative sites if the building was not available. D. Seidman recommended the Katherine Cornell Theater, because the students would have access to WiFi.

She inquired about transportation, and it was suggested that the students could travel by bus or bicycle. D. Seidman offered the use of a bike. C. Doble thought she should contact the MVTA to inquire about student passes. She wanted to help keep their transportation costs to a minimum.

B. Robinson advised the Board that they met with T. Israel to discuss how they planned to implement the action plans for their goals. T. Israel supported the use of a subcommittee to the Planning Board that would function like a clearing house to facilitate long term projects. The broadly based group could be approached on matters such as the school committee’s school building project, the town’s municipal projects and CPA fund recipients, where they could develop comprehensive plans for presentation at town meeting.

D. Seidman inquired if the plan was to have the Planning Board organize the subcommittee. B. Robinson replied in the affirmative.  D. Seidman thought they should advertise the committee to solicit volunteers.  Many participants at the vision planning workshops had expressed an interest in participating on such a committee.

L. Peak made reference to Christopher Alexander’s concept of pattern language in his theory on urban design, in which ordinary people found a way to work with their neighbors to improve a town or neighborhood. He thought they could apply the same principle and use the subcommittee in that capacity.

C. Doble wanted to present a report outlining their findings to the Planning Board for their comments prior to presenting the information to the Board of Selectmen on March 17, 2015.

B. Robinson felt they had to create a process that went beyond the vision planning process, and that included a broader representation of the community. The subcommittee was an excellent venue to  get people started and involved. C. Doble thought the subcommittee could also help people to articulate their ideas and refine them so that they were clearer.

Board members were to expect a report a couple of days prior to their next meeting.

1. Beach Road Improvements

D. Seidman planned to write a letter to MassDOT with the Board secretary’s assistance for the Board’s review on March 11, 2015.  B. Robinson thought they should develop a pictorial rendering of their proposal to go with the letter. Board members agreed.


1. MV Commission
A. February 11, 2015 All Island Planning Board Mtg. (Information)
B. 20 February 2015 Extended Meeting Schedule

PRO FORM        Meeting opened, conducted and closed in due form at 8:20 P.M.   (m/s/c  4/0/0)          
Respectfully submitted;
Patricia V. Harris, Secretary

APPROVAL:       Approved and accepted as official minutes;

______________  _________________________
Date                    Daniel Seidman