Back        Home

Town of Hampden

Regular Meeting of Planning Board
7:00PM at the Hampden Town Hall
April 9, 2003

Approved April 23, 2003

TOWN OF HAMPDEN

Members Present:                John D. Flynn, Chair, Joseph A. Dolben, Melissa Reeves, Joseph Kruzel, Robert Majkut

Guest - Michael Gerrard - new Conservation Commission Chair

(1)           7:15         PUBLIC HEARING - Russell Morton

Special Permit Request for a COMMON DRIVEWAY, SOUTH RIDGE ROAD Lot 2B to be divided into Lots 2C & 2D

Russ Morton called Clerk this afternoon to state that he would not be attending and had hired Keith Terry of Sherman and Woods to present his case.

Left this afternoon for the Board to review was a copy of a plan entitled"GRADING PLAN" (future) lots 2C and 2D stamped by Donald Frydryk, Sherman & Woods, 3 Converse St., Suite 203, Palmer, MA 01069 and dated 1/20/03.

The other plan was a "RECONFIGURATION OF LOTS" 7/22/98 amended 1/20/03 showing large lot 2B revised into Lots 2C and 2D with the driveway easement on Lot 2D. This was rec’d from Morton at a meeting on 2/12/03 when he applied for ANR endorsement. This would have had to be endorsed Lot 2C as "not a building lot until further action by the Planning Board" as due to a full front of ledge, it has no actual access to the street. Morton withdrew his ANR until such time as he could get the Special Permit for a Common Driveway, which is tonight's business.

Keith Terry spoke briefly stating that this is a 14' driveway on a 1.75 acre lot. A swale was designed to keep run-off from going onto the street.

Chair Flynn commented that if 2C were created it does not have access on its own and therefore is not a building lot. He noted that in the past, a common driveway was created for 3 large lots in a row on Burleigh Road, as it would not have been a benefit to the Town to have three driveways in a row from these substandard frontage lots. He stated that he sees the plan before the Board as skirting the inaccessability of the lot. He added that he was speaking to the division of the land and not to the common driveway. If the lot is inaccessable, it's not a lot.

Conservation Commission Chair Gerrard said there were no wetland issues on this parcel.

A memo from the Police Dept. Officer Bill Joy, was read, with Chief Mellis concurring, that a common driveway was not in the best interest of the neighborhood. The Bd. of Health response by Duane Mosier noted that access is a concern, however there were no known issues to report.

There were no abutters present. A potential couple interested in purchasing the lot were present and noted that they had been waiting a long time to be able to purchase this lot. They noted that they did not like the common driveway, but were aware that if it could not be divided by the use of a common driveway, the price of the larger lot that is existing would be out of their range.

Since the applicant was not present to decide whether or not to leave the lot as set up or divide it with an ANR lot that would be a self created hardship and Keith Kerry was new to the project the Board voted to continue the hearing until the next meeting. It was moved and seconded to continue this hearing on April 23 at 7PM.

(2) Appointment 7:45 Sue Bower, 357 Chapin.Rd

Referred to the Board by Mark Feeney in an attempt to determine if she couId go forward with addition plans, or if she should go before the Board of Appeals. Bower owns two adjoining lots - former land of Howard & Grace Gray and Warren & Grace Dickinson. As a historical note, Chapin Rd. was relocated away from the front of the house in 10/61. She brought in a sketch of an addition she wants to do showing a 1 story family room next to a one story garage. No dimensions or measurements of any kind were noted on this plan. She had an extra copy and left it for the file. This house was built prior to zoning and has always been non-conforming . She did not know her neighbors’ setbacks, however she owns a vacant lot and in R-6 that would need at least a 75' front setback.

There was much discussion given what was known and Kruzel moved that under Bylaw 4.5 she is not making it any worse and can get a building permit. The Board voted 4 to 1 against this concept. The Board finally stated that she should go before the Board of Appeals for a "FINDING" with a positive recommendation to be given by the Planning Board. The vote was 4 for this with Kruzel abstaining at this time.

(3)           HEARING -           Scott Humphries

Special Permit request for a COMMON DRIVEWAY across adjacent property line owned by Bethel, 77 Carmody Rd.

Keith Terry and Pete Levesque of Pioneer Environmental were representing Scott Humphries. There is a river and a tributory running through this parcel and to put in a driveway would destroy wetlands. The driveway easement is a small part of the 20' wide driveway - 14' with the required side gravel areas. The Bethel driveway is wide enough and the new section would vee off. No grading is planned to the rear and the high spot will be gradually sloped up to the house. This is an existing lot owned by Mr. Kibbe. Leveque said all means of access must be tried prior to filling a vegetated wetland and flood plain and this common driveway is seen as being better for the Town as it would save the wetlands.

Most of the residents attending had also received notice regarding the wetlands review which goes before the Conservation Commission on April 14, and have as yet not rec’d notice of this hearing although it was posted 3/31 and used tonight's hearing to vent their main concern about unwanted water problems in the Carmody/Old Orchard area.  Linda Moriarty referred to a drain that goes under the road and empties into this lot. She said if that is taken away, the area would be flooded. Chair asked Leveque if his client would be willing to work with the Bd. of Selectmen and codify the easement so Dana would be allowed to clear it as needed. Currently the Town has a hand shake with Mr. Kibbe to allow clearing of the area.  Ed Alston has no problem with the new house, but feels threatened regarding water and failure of his septic system.  Bonnie and Bob DeBonnee also told about the water that just flows up from under the ground into cellars.  Rick Fadus lives next to Bethel and asked if the bank would be removed noting there is not a lot of topography behind the proposed house. He also doesn’t want to look at a house "stuck in the woods", stating that all the houses on the street are in a row.

Flynn pointed out that development requires that there be no increase in wetlands and the material relating to the wetlands is not a part of this hearing.

Leveque said the first step was to try to get access without destroying the wetlands and the next step will be to look at the developable site itself.

A request by this Board to the Police to review the potential of this common driveway was negative with the statement that perhaps one could be cut in by the culvert on the property itself, by Wm Joy and Chief Mellis.  The-Bd. of Health reported no known issues.

Noting that it is in the best interest of the Town to allow the common driveway along with an easement to allow proper dredging by the Town to handle water building up in this area, Dolben moved that the Board approve this petition to allow the Common Driveway. The motion was seconded by Kruzel and the vote was unanimously 5-0 to approve. Hearing was closed.

(4)           Minutes of March 19 –

Melissa moved that the minutes be approved as recorded.  Vote to approve 5-0.

(6)           Clerk's Longevity Pay. 30 yrs approved at $400 to be   submitted for payment.

(7)           FY'04 Budget Cut -

                If override doesn't pass budget will be cut 5% or $570. Otherwise Clerical $10,873, Expenses $535

(8) ANR Endorsed -  Filed 3/31/03 for Michael Kane and Michael Torcia of 45 Old Farm Rd., East Longmeadow.  

Plan shows revision of rear property lines for 6 Wilbraham Rd. and 75 Steepleview Dr.  Clerk will call Paul Smith to notify him plan ready for pick up.

(9) RIDGELINE & HILLSIDE

Review on Gianetti is coming to closure. The Conservation would like a copy of the decision when Robin gets it done.

(10) Appointment - Rhonda Black - Stafford Rd., Sclafani property

Rhonda Black and her husband Walter are looking at purchasing the property on Stafford Rd for a Bed and Breakfast and doing weddings on the property under a tent in the spring, summer and fall. She currently is looking into the feasibility of the use of this property for financial reasons.

She presented initial plans for wedding use as on the 26 acre property, 1 acre would be for parking, a 6 acre back lot for a tent.  There would be catering/cooking on site and low key musicians as part of the event. She would limit her clients to weddings of 100 and under.

Also presented as part of the Bed and Breakfast would be use of the caretaker's gate house as part of the 5 room bed and breakfast. This use covers 15.3 acres, including a bath house, pool, barn and 3 out buildings. Building Inspector Mark Feeney was present during this conversation and it was felt that as long as there is no kitchen in the cottage it could be seen as a "Home Occupation" in an accessory building. Breakfast would be in the main house.

The Board sees the Bed and Breakfast as a good possibility, but there are major obstacles to the use for weddings. Traffic all coming in at about the same time and noise from the wedding itself would ruin the quiet, peaceful setting of the neighborhood.  Rhonda thanked the Board for listening and will now have to weigh her options and decide how to proceed.

(11)     All Dept Meeting  Thursday  4/17 at 9AM in Melville Room. No member could attend this.

(12) CURB CUTS

This new bylaw will go before Town Meeting and if passed, will be incorporated into the Town Bylaws, not the Zoning Bylaw.  Flynn has a sample "ROAD OPENING PERMIT" and gave members a copy.  This has also been given to Karen in the Selectmen's Office.

(13) ZONING REFORM WORKING GROUP

Materials were mailed from certain senators and representatives looking for support of the "Mass Land Use Reform Act", legislation that significantly amends existing state zoning and subdivision laws. The goal is to provide communities with the tools needed for effective land use planning. Joining the ZRWG is free and does not obligate members to support all aspects of this legislation. Coalition Membership Coordinator is Don Keeran dkeeran@apcc.org>. Selectmen have forwarded their set of materials to this Board and due to the lateness of this meeting, members who are interested in furthering this will contact Clerk for more materials.

Meeting Adjourned:            10:35pm

Next Meeting:                       April 23 @ 7:00pm  (Continuation of Morton Hearing)

Submitted By:                      Judith M. Jackson, Clerk                     Judy 566-8591