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Planning Board Minutes 10/02/2015

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


DATE:           October 2, 2015 
TIME:           2:15 PM

Attendance:      C. Doble,  B. Robinson and D. Seidman

PLACE:          Town Hall Annex, 66 High Point Lane

DISCUSSION:     Beach Road Renovation (All three options)

Board members were advised that T. Israel had called B. Robinson after the Board of Selectmen’s meeting on 09/29/15 stating that he would entertain a revote and choose the hybrid-hybrid, provided the sidewalk ran as far as possible on the north side of Beach Road. B. Robinson followed up on the conversation by meeting with the town administrator earlier this morning to inquire about their protocol for a revote.

B. Robinson noted there was an issue with the hybrid-hybrid. They had to reduce everything on the south side to make it work. In the last rendition of the hybrid they had a significant taking at the corner by the gas station to accommodate the bike lane.  If they pursued a taking at the most constrained point, he thought they should continue the taking all the way out. If the Board opted to support the hybrid, B. Robinson recommended supporting an increase in the right of way past the gas station, along the barrier beach to 44.5’ or more, because they had to extend the bike lane out. If they ended up with a 46’ right of way, they could maintain a 4 ft. buffer all the way in. He felt it would be a mistake to lose the 4 ft buffer.

B. Robinson informed the Board that J. Grande wanted to pursue a taking all along R.  Packer’s property.  He did not think it made sense. The two however agreed upon the location of the crosswalk (at the beginning of the wall in between curb cuts.  

D. Seidman questioned whether T. Israel would agree with the proposal, because he was insistent on having a sidewalk up to the Mones Insurance Building.  B. Robinson  thought they could placed a crosswalk at (what location?) so that the cyclists could cross over and bike right in . They could also reduce the taking by 2.5 ft so that they could have a 2 ft. wide shoulder and 43.5 ft. right of way. If they opted to run the sidewalk all the way to the Mones Insurance Building without the bike lane, they would not need a wide taking by adding a crossing (where?).
D. Seidman was concerned that the “taking” would impact one property the most. B. Robinson indicated that it was unavoidable. C. Doble noted that the members of the community present at the Board of Selectmen’s meeting on 29 September 2015 did not understand why the Selectmen were trying to minimize the land taking when the proposed amenities dictated a larger layout.  C. Doble also mentioned that the area most impacted by the proposal was the gas station, which would require additional improvements that would benefit the one property owner. B. Robinson did not believe they had to continue the sidewalk all the way to the Mones Insurance Building, but was willing to support the proposal and taking. If the Board of Selectmen moved to approve the hybrid-hybrid plan, they should request to meet with Mass DOT before they prepared their 25% design plan, because it was important to convey to them that the design had to accommodate the 4 ft buffer and green space.

D. Seidman acknowledged C. Doble’s concern with the Board of Selectmen’s vote on September 29, 2015, but did not think was appropriate for the Planning Board  to circumvent the Selectmen and correspond with Mass DOT regarding their objections.
C. Doble explained she was not aware that T. Israel was willing to reconsider his vote at the time she made the suggestion. She nonetheless felt that the Board should have a written statement prepared for the Selectmen’s meeting that clearly stated their position. B. Robinson agreed. She had every intention of sharing the letter with the Board of Selectmen sometime prior to the meeting.

D. Seidman thought the statement would contradict their proposal for the 40 ft. wide layout. B. Robinson noted that they’ve abandoned the 40 ft. wide layout when they voted in favor of the 41 ft. right of way. If there was a proposal for a better and safer road with a 43 ft. layout, he did not see why they could not support the concept.  The 43 ft. wide layout supported the sidewalk on the north side of the road that was never a part of the 41 ft. layout.  

B. Robinson was willing to take a stand and explain why they could not compromise on the SUP, and how the 4 ft buffer was a critical piece to the safety of the SUP, and the aesthetics of the road. If the Board of Selectmen wanted to add more sidewalk on the north side of the road, they had to increase the right of way.  C. Doble suggested amending their statement stating that the Planning Board would support the community’s preference, understanding all of the requirements. B. Robinson agreed.  

D. Seidman suggested that they draft a statement. C. Doble thought a simple statement in support of the proposal sufficed.  B. Robinson inquired if they should take a vote, based on the drawing.  D. Seidman recommended redrawing the plan.

B. Robinson in his discussion with J. Grande this morning agreed to a 3ft wide buffer and 9 ft. wide SUP as a compromise if it was the only way to persuade T. Israel to vote for the hybrid. C. Doble was willing to support an increase in taking (location?) provided they make every effort to minimize its impact on the shell station as much as possible at the curve.  It was the one location that would be the most impacted. D. Seidman thought it was important to determine the location(s) and length of the takings for the right of way.

D. Seidman inquired about the path at the Tisbury Marketplace.  B. Robinson indicated that they were thinking about obtaining an easement on the abutting vacant lot, since the Beach Road Restaurant landscaped the area. C. Doble mentioned that P. LeClerc suggested using the property as a staging area. B. Robinson thought the state could purchase the property as part of the right of way and use for public space (park).

D. Seidman thought it was important to design the revised plan as an overlay to the current proposal for a comparison.  C. Doble thought the Board of Selectmen had to project the entire layout on a screen for everyone to see. D. Seidman wanted to see the entire layout and a close up of the section they were proposing to change. B. Robinson offered to prepare the presentation and to give T. Israel the option of having the Board of Selectmen or Planning Board make the presentation. C. Doble was concerned that they would lose the green space at the beginning. D. Seidman questioned whether the green space could survive the harsh environment.  B. Robinson and C. Doble believed beach grass would do well because the plant was very tolerant of severe maritime exposure.

B. Robinson wanted to confirm with the Board if they were prepared to support a decrease in the width of the buffer, from 4ft. to 3 ft. and a reduction in the width of the SUP from 10 ft. to 9 ft. with reservations, because it is not the ideal.

H. Lee and D. Hodsdon joined the discussions at 2:37 PM and were advised that the Planning Board were trying to determine what they were willing to compromise, if the Board of Selectmen did not vote in favor of the 43 ft. wide right of way. H. Lee did not think they should compromise on the design if they were to have a SUP. B. Robinson acknowledged, but felt they had to prepare for the possibility.

Board members agreed to relocate the crosswalk at the transition point on the road. B. Robinson advised the Board that J. Grande suggested the possibility of asking the state to construct a sidewalk at one of the crosswalks with a release spot.~ D. Seidman did not see any advantage in adding a sidewalk within an area where one did not exist. C. Doble agreed, noting that the sidewalk led lead nowhere and also created the need for an additional crossing. H. Lee concurred. He did not think the cyclists would travel further than the one crosswalk on the plan. C. Doble mentioned that it would interfere with J. Weisman’s harbor walk on the lagoon. Additional discussions ensued with regards to the seawall and B. Robinson thought the introduction of a new element into the proposal would be confusing. C. Doble believed it was be a mistake to invest in the seawall, when there was potential for change, and when the investment could limit their possibilities.

B. Robinson informed the Board that J. Grande had inquired if they could run the SUP around the corner. He advised against it because it would give cyclists and pedestrians the impression that it would continue when the amenity was transitioning into a sidewalk. B. Robinson thought the empty lot next door to the Beach Road Restaurant was a natural spot that could be used for additional parking and as a terminus for the SUP. D. Seidman thought it could be improved and used for public space.

H. Lee inquired if they were addressing the transitional point, because it was important to distinguish the sidewalk from the SUP. B. Robinson explained that the SUP was going to have an asphalt surface, while the sidewalk was going to be concrete. H. Lee thought the town had to secure an easement along the edge of the vacant lot for the SUP and green space.

Additional discussions ensued and B. Robinson offered to make a motion. He moved “to develop two cross sections, one at the barrier beach, and one at the Tisbury Wharf, which was to show a crosswalk at the Tisbury Wharf revetment. The Planning Board in addition would be willing to support a reduction in the buffer from 4 ft. to 3 ft. and a reduction in the SUP from 10 ft to 9 ft. to support the sidewalk on the north side, with the understanding that they would rather not compromise the 4 ft. to 3 ft. and 10 ft. to 9 ft. reductions in support a wider right of way. That being said, they would prefer having the first barrier beach cross section close to a 46 ft. right of way, and the Tisbury Wharf cross section at a 44 ft. right of way. The Planning Board will provide drawings to demonstrate exact dimensions, and will also determine the length of increase in the right of way for each section.  D. Seidman seconded the motion.

H. Lee inquired about the layout because the footage assigned for the SUP, shoulder, etc was not adding up correctly. B. Robinson indicated that it was going to be 5.5 ft. for the sidewalk, 4.5 ft. for the bike lane and 21 ft. for the travel lanes for the first section. The second section included a 2 ft. buffer, 2 ft. shoulder, 3 ft. buffer and 9 ft. SUP on the north end. H. Lee noted that they were short 1 ft.  B. Robinson clarified that the Planning Board was not in favor of reducing the right of way. C. Doble explained that the 45 ft. right of way was the compromise. B. Robinson added that the Planning Board preferred and supported the 47 ft. right of way. D. Seidman explained that that the Board agreed to draw approximately 400 - 600 ft. of the right of way with the changes that would require a wider road layout and the repositioning of the crosswalks.

C. Doble explained that they would lose the sidewalk as they moved beyond the transition point, but still have 4.5 ft of shoulder. D. Seidman thought the shoulder could serve as a bike lane. B. Robinson added that if they agreed to compromise down, they would be looking at a 42.5 ft right of way. H. Lee asked the Board to clarify the difference between  their proposal and the hybrid-hybrid. D. Seidman indicated that they were proposing a wider taking and adding a sidewalk.

C. Doble thought it important to make their position, and their decision for a compromise very clear, and recommended the presentation of a well thought out and constructed statement that would convey their reasons for pursuing a particular plan and/or compromise. She believed it was imperative to have the Board agree and vote on the statement, so that their position is clearly conveyed at the meeting. B. Robinson concurred, and moved to amend his motion to include a comment about drafting a short statement that outlined what they supported and why they supported an alternative proposal. D. Seidman seconded the revised motion.

B. Robinson explained that their decision was based on safety, public input, and the recommendations of the design professionals, research and data.

C. Doble noted that she could not support the symmetrical layout even thought people have mentioned that Mass DOT proclaimed bike lanes in roads were safe. C. Doble countered noting that she has observed cyclists riding on their sidewalks, which created a hazard. B. Robinson thought they should state that the symmetrical design did not meet their standards.   

PRO FORM        Meeting opened, conducted and closed in due form at 3:08 P.M.           (m/s/c  3/0/0)          
Respectfully submitted;
Patricia V. Harris, Secretary

APPROVAL:       Approved and accepted as official minutes;

______________  _________________________
Date                    Daniel Seidman