By Beth David, Editor
The Stratford Capital Group, which is proposing affordable senior housing for the old Oxford School building, requested a continuance on the hearing at the Fairhaven Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on 2/7.
Fairhaven Town Planner and Economic Development Director Bill Roth told the board that the developer was still working on the traffic study, and was reviewing and changing parts of the plan, including stormwater management and the parking lot in back.
The company had agreed to create a public parking lot along a strip of Livesey Park. Because Livesey is a state-restricted public park, the town needs to swap an existing parcel of at least the same value in order to use the park for anything other than recreation. The state legislature will need to vote on the measure.
Mr. Roth said that the town has identified two tax title properties that, he said, “wood work” for the land exchange. The land needs to be appraised.
Any land exchange would have to pass at Town Meeting before being sent to the legislature for approval.
The company will also need an easement to reach the parking for the residents because of the layout of the lot. The entrance will be on Livesey Parkway.
“Nothing’s easy,” said Mr. Roth.
The developer had also agreed to pay for a traffic study. Mr. Roth said the study was not ready yet. The town had made changes to the scope of services.
The company also will ask for a waiver of the town regulations on stormwater management. SCG wants to use the less stringent requirements of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.
Mr. Roth said the town’s regulations are double or even triple what is sufficient for the site.
There was no public comment on the hearing. The ZBA will discuss it again on March 7.
In another matter, the board approved a variance for Daniel and Tracy Secia of 27 Cherry Street to build an addition for a kitchen remodel.
The addition will be short 3′ of the 10′ required on the side yard and 17′ short of the 30′ required in the rear, and 2% over maximum building coverage on the lot.
The plan calls for a 9×7 bumpout for the kithcen.
“It’s a very narrow lot,” Mr. Secia told the board.
Tracy Secia said the “very tiny kitchen” is “not accommodating,” and difficult to spend time in.
No abutters spoke on the project, and the board approved the petition unanimously.
The board also re-heard a petition by V-Corp for a special permit to build a single family home with septic system in the Nasketucket River Basin (NRB). The ZBA had rejected the petition, under the impression that the petition had to be voted on within 65 days and no one from the project had attended the meeting at the end of last year. However, the petition actually needs to be heard within 65 days and then has to be voted on within 90 days after that.
Steve Gioiosa of Sitec successfully argued in front of the Planning Board to vote on the matter and send it back to the ZBA. One of the criteria necessary for the ZBA to re-hear a petition before the two-year mandatory waiting period is that significant aspects of the project have changed. Mr. Gioiosa told the PB that he believed the ZBA did not have critical information, and, he said, he made changes to the project.
The PB voted to send it back to the the ZBA which re-heard the petition at its 2/7 meeting.
Mr. Gioiosa told the board that the project would not have an adverse effect on the water in the NRB, that the septic system was a Title V state-of-the-art system. He said the town’s Board of Health regulations are stricter than Title V and the system was designed for both. The Conservation Commission has also signed off on the design, issuing an order of conditions to allow the project.
The conditions regulate the leaching field, grading, septic system, the house, and stormwater runoff from the roadway.
“…we are greatly exceeding the Title V regulations and slightly exceed the Board of Health regulations,” said Mr. Gioiosa, adding that they also added cypress trees to be a buffer on the property line.
Abutter Mark Monteiro told the board that his objection has not changed. He said he does not object to a house being built on the property, but is afraid that he will have additional drainage problems on his property. The proposed house is raised and the area is “always saturated at the property line,” he said.
“I know what happens there,” said Mr. Monteiro.
He noted that other houses were being built across the road and all the extra hard surfaces means that the water will end up in his yard.
“The ground is just going to get more and more saturated,” said Mr. Monteiro.
He said he was sure the systems would work at first, but asked what would happen in five or six years.
“I’m the one who’s [going to] have to deal with it,” said Mr. Monteiro. “I can’t come in front of the board later and ask for help. I’ll get laughed out.”
Mr. Gioiosa again went through some specifications and assurances that the plan would handle the water and not make his situation worse.
He said the septic and drainage system has a pump and lots of chambers.
“It’s a state-of-the-art system that meets all the standards,” said Mr. Gioiosa. “We haven’t asked for any waivers (for the septic).”
“We created flow paths for the water,” said Mr. Gioiosa.
The board approved the petition unanimously. ZBA member Jaime DeSousa recused himself from the discussion and the vote but did not leave the room.
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