PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES

April 5, 2006

7:30 PM

 Jamestown Library

 

The meeting was called to order at 7:40 p.m. and the following members were present:

 

Gary Girard                  Victor Calabretta

Barry Holland               Betty Hubbard

Richard Ventrone         Michael White

 

Not present: Jean Brown

 

Also present:

 

Lisa Bryer, AICP – Town Planner

Cinthia Reppe – Recording Clerk

Michael Gray – Town Engineer

John Murphy – Attorney

Joseph Manning

Eric Offenberg – Engineer – President – Northeast Engineers

Paul Aldinger - Hydrogeologist

George Gifford – Landscape Architect – Gifford Design Group

Bruce McIntyre - Attorney

Ray Bazanq      no

Ian Thompson – Parker Construction

David Revens

Mike McCormack – Land Surveyor

Pat Walker - Engineer

 

 

I.       Approval of Minutes from March 15, 2006

A motion was made by Commissioner Calabretta and seconded by Commissioner White to accept the minutes with the following changes:

Page 2 - first paragraph under New Business; A motion was made by Commissioner Girard Calabretta and seconded by Commissioner Brown.

Page 2 – Second to last paragraph, 5th sentence; She would also like to look at District Dimensional Regulations, Development Plan Review, and parking with regard…..

So unanimously voted.

 

II.    Correspondence

1.      FYI – ISDS Application #0215-0381 Rosario Sciuto, Beacon Ave Memo from Town Clerk. Received

2.      FYI – Grow Smart Rhode Island – The Power of Place Summit – Agenda/Reg info 5-12-06. Received

3.      FYI – Dutton  Re: Letter of withdraw of Application from Joseph Palumbo. Received

 

 

III.  Citizen’s Non Agenda Item – nothing at this time

 

IV. Reports

1.               Town Planner’s Report

2.               Chairpersons report

Commissioner Girard informed the Planning Commission that because of the change in the fiscal year the stipend will be distributed in the next month and be effective from July 05-June06.

3.               Town Committees

a.       Harbor

b.      Fort Getty

c.       Buildings and Facilities

d.      Others

4.               Sub Committees

Public Hearing

 

                        Manning (Upland Farm) Major 9 Lot Subdivision with waivers - Cedar Lane

 

John Murphy attorney representing The Manning Family made a presentation and introduced the team which consists of Dr. Paul Aldinger hydrogeologist, Eric Offenberg engineer and George Gifford.  He summarized the subdivision to the audience.  Mr. Murphy also briefly discussed the hydrogeologic study, and the homeowner’s documents.  Chair Girard invited members of the commission, general public and staff to make comments.

 

John Dudley 25 Steamboat St. – abutter - concerned about the wells and how will 9 wells will not affect the abutters wells?

Town Planner Lisa Bryer asked Dr. Aldinger to briefly explain the study they did of the wells in the area and the results they obtained.

They did 3 test wells and did extensive pump tests.  In addition to the 3 wells on their property they measured abutting neighbor’s wells levels too.  The were looking for levels of drawdown in abutting wells and this indicates how the wells on the property would impact the abutting wells.  The numbers they observed were very minimal and only a few feet drop in the water level.  Dr. Aldinger concluded that there would not be an issue with the 9 wells impacting the abutting wells. 
They also looked at the quality of the water and they looked at nitrates.  The quality of the water will not be affected either.  They looked at all the contributions made to the groundwater and took all if it into consideration.

 

John Dudley – How deep are the wells going to be?  He was answered, 300-500 feet is what the estimate is.

Town Planner Lisa Bryer added that the Town engaged Dr. Urish over the last 2 years to review all of the information that Dr. Aldinger and the applicant presented and the Planning Commission and the town feel very comfortable with the results.

Louis Dambrosca - 61 Cedar  Lane – this development is maxed out as far as 9 house lots, will this cause a water shortage in the area? Dr. Aldinger reiterated his former response.  Are the septic systems going to be to close together?  John Murphy stated the town requires the cluster and the state approved the design.

John Dudley –If you cut down the big trees do you gain water or lose water? Mr. Gifford has to turn it over to Dr. Aldinger, it depends on what you do when you cut the tree down, Dr. Aldinger replied.  Trees uptake water and they will be handling the excess stormwater on site.

Mr. Murphy explained the roadways and drainage systems that will capture the rainwater.

Eric Offenberg, an engineer from Northeast Engineers, bio-filtration swales were designed and they will capture the runoff and it will recharge the property. 

 

Commissioner Ventrone – the document on Schedule A he thought it was the agreement last time that there would be restriction on the sprinklers and they would require a cistern system and Commissioner Ventrone wants it in there.  It could be added if that is what the commission wants stated Mr. Murphy but it was his recollection that the board did not give a decisive answer since it was an informal tie vote.

Commissioner Calabretta – If we use the cisterns to capture the water from the roof then we are not allowing the water to recharge back into the groundwater which is not our goal.

Commissioner Holland – as he recalls the discussions there was a debate about whether or not they would restrict the sprinkler systems.  He does not think it is fair to say either way or he disagrees with Commissioner Ventrone.  George Gifford stated that automatic sprinklers are more efficient with water use.  To collect the water in cisterns is counter productive to some of the things that have been discussed.  Commissioner Hubbard wants George Gifford to describe some water saving devices.  Some of the benefits that automatic sprinklers give the homeowner, timing, accuracy, and choice of types of heads like drip irrigation and you can put a rain sensor on the system.  His contention has always been that you can be much more efficient with water use.

Commissioner Holland comments that early morning watering goes back into the aquifer and recharges it with little evaporation.  We don’t have any restrictions on the island at this time, its discriminatory for just one development.  They voted on it once before.

Commissioner White agrees with Commissioner Ventrone but thinks that if automatic sprinklers are not agreed on they will put other ones in that are less efficient.  He agrees that they may be more efficient but if they are prohibited altogether then they will be less likely to water with hoses.

 

Commissioner Girard – philosophically is against it, but with the proper water saving devices it might be OK. Commissioner Girard asked Mr. Murphy about the things that are in the memo from Lisa Bryer to the Planning Commission and they went through each one. 

An Easement to the town for monitoring the well in the common area is required.  The easement to the town will include a provision for the town to monitor the wells. They will get together on item 3, item 5 put it in developers agreement.  Item 6 put it in the final agreements.

 

Mike Gray, town engineer says it will vary from property to property on how much recharge is on each property.  People have the option of having a cistern if they want.  Put in the developers agreement that roof drains can recharge water into the ground.  Runoff needs to be recharged but don’t say how.  Put a generic statement in the developers agreement.

Commissioner Holland said it says this agreement is in effect until 2014 unless 2/3 of the owners want to change it at that point.  Lisa Bryer stated that is why the restrictions must be in the developers agreement so they can’t change it and it is binding in perpetuity.  They want schedule A in the developer’s agreement.

Commissioner Girard moves and Calabretta seconds that they direct Lisa Bryer to incorporate these items and prepare a motion for approval for the next meeting.  So unanimously voted.

 

 

V.   Old Business – nothing at this time

VI. New Business

 

    1. 10 Narragansett Ave – Development Plan Review – Pre Application Review  Mr.Bruce McIntyre the attorney representing J Preston, RE LLC, Ray and Karen Bazanno.  He introduced Ian Thompson from Parker Construction, and Robert Orenstein, architect.  Eric Offenberg from Northeast Engineers is the firm responsible for the engineering work.  They want to know what the Planning Commission is looking for.  Historically the building is 120 yrs old.  It was originally 10 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms.  They want to restore it to the original design, reconfigure the interior and update it for safety issues.  It will be converted to 10 condo’s from 10 apartments it will increase from 10 bathrooms to 16 bathrooms.  They know everything needs to be updated to fire codes.  Safety is a concern there are lots of issues that need to be addressed for safety issues. He is proposing an underground parking lot and therefore the town will gain 3 parking spaces by them going underground.  Mr. Orenstein explained the parking to Commissioner Girard.  Commissioner Calabretta asked a question about the foundation and whether or not it will be violating the setbacks.  A discussion ensued between the Planning Commissioners and Mr. Orenstein regarding the plans and the design.  Setback issues are Zoning issues.  The feedback they were given from the Planning Commission includes: Are you violating setbacks; and also open air is needed for the parking and since you are below grade it looks like an open rain catcher.  Commissioner Calabretta has issues and is asking to understand how they are getting the 10 units by right when the town assessed it for 5 units 3 years ago. 

This is a perfect example of affordable housing in Commissioner Calabretta’s eyes.  Mr. Bazzano stated he will be creating an ownership opportunity for the current tenants.  He also has another piece of property up the street for affordable housing that he would like to develop if he is successful in purchase.

Mr. McIntyre stated he would like a summary of what they want to see regarding landscape and design.  Commissioner Holland asked if height going to be a problem?  The building will be 54 feet high, the neighboring building is 75 feet high so they will be going for a height variance.

Mr. Bazanno says the price range will be in the $348,000 range on the one bedroom units.

Commissioner Hubbard is assuming that the desire to recreate the historic look is what they are after and just make sure that the architect looks at all the buildings around it, she feels the parking, being able to see through is awkward looking and of concern to her.  Trees are very important too.  The commission gave input and Mr. Bazanno will come back to a future meeting.

 

    1. Petit Residence – AP 3 Lot 168 -  Zoning Ordinance Section 314 Sub District A Review, High Ground Water Table-Impervious Overlay District – New Dwelling Catamaran & Seaside Dr.

 

Chris Tuck the architect for Brian Petit is proposing a 3 bedroom house on a 33,000 sq ft lot.  The footprint consists of about 9% lot coverage.  The stormwater runoff will go into a catchment area on the property. 

 

Commissioner Hubbard asked why they haven’t located the house further up on the lot.  She said maybe they can diminish the amount of fill needed for the ISDS if they do that.  He can reduce the fill he stated he can bring the contours in so there would not be as much fill.  Commissioner Holland stated that if everything was moved back they would have to go back to DEM for approval again. 

Commissioner Calabretta said when he went to see the property on Seaside Dr. the other side is already filled and this property is unique whatever they do to drain will end up in the catch basin and then the bay.  This is important recharge.  Can we get the water back into the ground?  He also stated he has an issue with size of the house.  Is there a way to get the ground water and excess runoff back into the ground, he asked the architect.  Do some research to recharge the water.  Commissioner Calabretta would like to see the water getting back into the ground. 

 

Commissioner Hubbard agrees with Commissioner Calabretta, when you have crushed stone in the driveway it helps to recharge.  Commissioner  Hubbard asked about the foundation, they are putting pvc pipes all the way around it so that the water can pass through. Commissioner Calabretta would like to see the groundwater recharged no matter what.

In subdistrict A they generally do not allow any garages said Commissioner Girard but this lot is much larger than most they look at but three does not seem to be minimal impact.  They discussed moving the retention basin up along the side of the house.  Mr. Tuck said they could bring gravel around the house. This is a unique opportunity and they should have some leeway with the fill in Commissioner Calabrettas opinion. 

Commissioner Ventrone’s opinion is to keep the ISDS and change the grades.  Mike Gray stated they need 12 inches separation between the bottom of the catchment basin and the groundwater.   Reconsider redesigning the garage.  Mike Gray said to look at the info provided from the test holes it gets worse going east and moving the ISDS may not a better possibility.  They need variances for where it is located right now.  They will try to have the changes made to return for the May 3rd meeting.  Information has to be submitted three weeks prior.

 

A motion was made by Commissioner Girard and seconded by Commissioner Hubbard to extend the meeting until 10:15.  So unanimously voted.

 

    1. Elaine Enterprises – AP 1 Lots 52 & 53 - Zoning Ordinance Section 314 Sub District A Review, High Ground Water Table-Impervious Overlay District – New Dwelling, North Main Rd.

 

David Revins the attorney  for  Elaine Enterprises introduced the Land Surveyor, Mike McCormick and Pat Walker the engineer.   Pat Walker gave a brief synopsis of the plan and showed where the septic and house placement would be. It is 12.7 percent impervious coverage.  They addressed the increase in runoff with swales.  They have ISDS approval from DEM.  Commissioner Calabretta asked what is the reason for the multiple swales?  The only impervious surface is the house and roof.   The commission wants to see elevations of the house, and foundation details, which they just received tonight.  They would prefer a 1 car garage instead of a 2.  Commissioner Calabretta stated all the surrounding houses are small and there are no garages.  The Planning Commission gave the applicant some input and they will return for a future meeting to continue this discussion.

 

A motion to adjourn at 10:15 p.m. was made by Commissioner Calabretta and seconded by Commissioner White.  So unanimously voted.

 

 

 

Attest:

 

 

Cinthia Reppe                                 This meeting was recorded on 1 micro-cassette