TOWN OF BUXTON PLANNING BOARD MEETING
March 17, 2008
Recorded by Hilda Lynch
Board Members Present: Harry Kavouksorian, Keith Emery, Jeremiah Ross, III, James Logan, Caroline Segalla, and David Anderson
Board Members Absent: Barbara Elwell
Others Present: Dwight Anderson (DeLuca-Hoffman), Bill Hoffman (DeLuca-Hoffman), Gloria Leveillee (SAD 6), Frank Crabtree (Harriman), and Brian Keezer (Harriman), Harry Weymouth (abutter)
Chairman Jeremiah Ross, III, called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m.
The new Buxton Elementary School will have 850 students, and Bill (from DeLuca-Hoffman) reported that only three percent of this number is planned for parking for parent pickup, which he felt was a very low percentage. (No. 1 on the list provided) There are only 11 buses planned for student pickup for the opening, estimating 750 students starting at that time. For this size district, they’d expect about 18 buses. They’d like confirmation of this from the school district. Bus loading could be staggered to allow for additional buses to pick up.
Harriman has a plan for 284 parking spaces. There is an area behind Frank Jewett they’re using, and there has never been parking there. Bill thought the plan was about 30 spaces short so he recommended a small parking lot be put in to meet the parking ordinance. DeLuca-Hoffman’s biggest concern of the site plan is No. 4 (on the list provided) as service trucks will be going into an area where students would be crossing to a playground and an area where students might be playing basketball. Their suggestion is to modify the site—push the building over to the left of the site and move the field over to the right of the school. It would also keep the school further away from the storm water basins. (The district should plan to replace the
filter beds periodically.) An alternative to moving the building over would be to install an electronic gate which would allow only trucks, fire, or district traffic, but this wouldn’t be the preferable solution.
De-Luca-Hoffman felt that a designated turn lane would be preferable on Rt. 22 because of the traffic flow, or markings could be put in to see how things go. (No. 5) If there needs to be traffic markings or lanes put in later, it will all be at local expense. He mentioned ten pickup spaces which could be added that wouldn’t be included in the three percent.
Water will sit in the filter beds on occasion for one or two days which raises the question of fencing in the beds. (No. 6) David asks about the cover for the filter beds, and Frank Crabtree explained that it will eventually grass over with wild grass and will dry out. What would be the cross section – 18 inches maximum of water and another foot and a half above? Jere says there’s an overflow built in (18 inches deep, Frank stated). There are a couple of inches extra in the back bed.
Bill summarized the parking and safety concerns.
David expressed surprise about the three percent pickups and drop offs. He believes there are a lot of cars lined up there every morning. He wants clarification on that.
Brian asked Bill Ellis (Maintenance for SAD 6) about the trucks accessing the site. Brian says they could actually get a WB 62 sized truck in there—can get it around the bus loop. Brian feels they’ve achieved this. Jere asked about the possibility of Harriman moving the building on the site. Brian wonders how delivery trucks would get in and turn around if they moved the building. The plan that Bill is showing Harriman had early on, but the district was adamant about not having the playing field where it’s being proposed on DeLuca-Hoffman’s plan. The district wanted the play area near the front of the building. Gloria couldn’t speak for administration, but she thought the change might be possible. Jere asked if Harriman could
provide them with a better alternative. Brian said the Superintendent was adamant that she didn’t want a gate. The people who would be working there have a plan for marking the service area off.
Jim asked if there is a provision for sidewalks to go down to the playing field. Brian says there is a fence along the front and down to the corner of the front of the playing field. Brian explained that there were two options to access the playing field: from the back of the school and from the front entrance. Bill mentioned the basketball courts and the safety issue. He thought there could be better access across the area. Keith commented that you do not put trucks and children in the same area. As a truck driver, he knows that kids get by them. Harry agrees with Keith because he believes we’d be inviting disaster. There would have to be strict controls and/or a physical barrier all the way along the playing field.
Brian thought the school was already planning to restrict the hours of this area. David mentions that a sign is just a sign and people will drive right through. Jere feels that some kind of plan needs to be developed to separate the kids from the service area. Brian feels that kids will be supervised and taught to use the crosswalks, and Board members felt that this was a large assumption. Brian explained that the playground issues came up late in the plan—adding the basketball hoops. Brian says they could possibly talk about some kind of barrier. Jere asked if they’d need someone to come out of the building if a truck comes in. Jere asked Gloria to talk with various people to get some input. A temporary gate wouldn’t do anything for after hours. Caroline doesn’t want to assume that there will always be teachers there to take care of the kids. She suggested shifting the building somewhat. There are too many
concerns about the gate situation. She feels it’s in the best interest of the school to design this right. Gloria says it’s not just safety, but vandalism is also of concern. Some Board members thought that fencing might be a solution.
Harry Weymouth (a member of the public who was given permission to comment by the Board, Harriman and DeLuca-Hoffman representatives) asked where the planned discharge is for students during a fire drill. The reason he asks is because of the trucks showing up and where the kids will be. The playing field would be a good place to go if there wasn’t an access road in between. Gloria says this hasn’t been determined yet, but they usually consult with the fire department. People and traffic in the winter is a consideration, too.
Regarding the bus queue area, David would like to see a little more verification from the school on the three percent pickup. They’re reducing from 13 to 11 buses when the new school opens. Kids will be coming from every sector of the town then. Caroline thinks that Mr. Hoffman’s recommendation for the buses coming in would be good. She also wants verification for the pickup. Jim also has concerns about the three percent—being accurate this year might not mean that it would be accurate for the life of the school. Jere gave some examples of bus issues. Does this parking take into account the maximum number of pupils for the bus queue? Brian was not sure about this and will look into it. Caroline asked about the bus queue
as it relates to the Frank Jewett School. Brian says they’d use the current bus flow for that school. Keith mentions that extra spaces should be paved because of plowing. Harry would also like to examine the three percent pickups and having some room for expansion. Bill thought that Wednesday (3/19/08) would be a good day to do a count because of the bad weather expected since there would likely be more pickups. Caroline asked where the snow storage would be going. Keith says it would go anywhere they could put it. Brian says it will be tight and eventually they’ll have to go in with a bucket to clean out the accumulated snow. Harry asked if there was a danger of losing parking spaces, and Keith and Jim agreed that the snow would have to be pushed back to regain spaces.
Jere asked if Harriman was okay with adding an additional parking lot there (DeLuca-Hoffman’s No. 3). Brian stated that they’re trying to preserve as much green space; he doesn’t feel they need to add that because they have areas they can use for overflow parking. Jere asked if Bill thought they had enough parking in his opinion. He thought that going with 280 was reasonable. Bill thought it was unfortunate that this tiny space would house such a large school. Bill thought it should be a condition that other events not be scheduled (in the other buildings) when there is a large event at the new school. Bill doesn’t think that all of what Harriman is counting for parking is legitimate. Jere felt that Harriman and the district could
come up with something to meet the ordinance. David and Harry both stated that the Board couldn’t vary from the ordinance. Caroline wondered if there was another area they could use to shuttle into the school. Jim has had a problem with having some parking in an area which the school district is planning to hand back to the Town (Hanson School). Brian says they meet the ordinance for the daily parking but only for larger events held at the school which would only be certain times of the year. Jere feels this is an area that needs to be resolved with SAD 6. Where would the Town property begin and the SAD 6 property begin? What are the provisions for Town use when Hanson is turned back to the Town? Townspeople knowing that they’ll get the building but no parking would affect the outcome of a vote if the Town were to take over the Hanson building.
Jere asked if the District and Harriman are planning to have a left turn lane. Bill would recommend it be designated as a left turn lane at the beginning. Brian says they are planning to widen the shoulder. He attended a meeting with several people, and they thought putting in a left turn lane would be counter to trying to slow down the traffic. Bill thought they would have a situation in the afternoon. Jere asked Harry W. if he was at the meeting, and he said he was. He said that Chief Thomas didn’t like having the left turn lane because of the speed of traffic going through there. There would be a right turn lane and a left bypass. (175’ before and 75’ after) Keith would like to see the left turn lane. He’s
concerned about vehicles being rear-ended there. Harry K. thought there should be more traffic control and enforcement there. Seventeen percent of the traffic turns left, and here you have 27 percent. Bill thinks it is brutal in this season with the position of the sun. There were 294 additional one-way trips in the morning mentioned in the Traffic and Parking Peer Review Summary from Maine Traffic Resources. Bill commented on not having students out near the road (a plus) with the school designed where it is. DOT will go along with local suggestions, Bill thinks.
Brian asked if Harry W. would be okay with losing another 10 ft. of lawn and Jim asked if they would take more of his property by eminent domain. Jere says that as long as they keep their work within their right of way, there wouldn’t be a need for eminent domain. Brian says an easement might be needed with Harry Weymouth’s property, and they might have to move a ditch over if there is one. DOT doesn’t want to move traffic out of a straight line. Jim thought it would take a lot of moving to the right before affecting people’s vision down a straight road. Jere asked if Harriman would talk further with DOT. Jere gives great weight to what Chief Thomas has to say about it. Harry W. didn’t think she was adamant about not having a left
turn lane but that it was an option to consider. Dave said that she talked with him just today about not having a left turn lane.
Keith suggests asking the insurance company first about the fencing of the filter beds. Jere said they’d want to have some colored galvanized fencing if they were to fence it.
Caroline asked about the requirements of fencing. A natural hazard wouldn’t be fenced, but filters bring in another issue. They’re more of a hazard because they only occasionally have water. Bill says it comes down to what the district wants to do because at the end of the day it’s their liability.
Brian stated that based on the ordinance they’re required four trees per the ordinance per space – 3” trees are very expensive and hard to find. He thought 2.5” trees were easier to find. Caroline mentioned that it says 3” but 2.5” is the standard. Jim asked if they shouldn’t adhere to the ordinances. Brian says that they could adhere to it. Jere clarified that the Planning Board does not have provision to waive things in the ordinances.
Jere asked if they were going to prepare a noise study, and Brian says that they’re exploring that right now. DEP still exempts schools, and the Gorham H.S. and M.S. have problems with the noise. He says he would be surprised if it took more than just adjusting duct sizes.
This is still a work in progress. Bill asked how many gal. per minute, and Brian says they thought they were going to get 5 gal. per minute (500 or 600 ft. well). Jim asked about it being 300 ft. from the leach field, and Brian says it would be over 300’.
Storm Water Mgmt.
Is there something from low impact development areas, Caroline asked? Caroline asked about Casco traps? Frank said they could have something like this as they’re pretty easy to put in.
Bill would suggest to Harriman that they consider the District’s consultant on wastewater. He talked about several things that might cause premature failure. He wants to be sure the septic wouldn’t break out in the playground area. Bill thinks the technical items can be resolved in just a couple of meetings. Jere asked if Harriman felt they could work on this. Jim Jacobson didn’t think the plan was the one that had been worked out with Harriman, according to Jim. The plan Jim is holding is March, 2008, rather than the 12/12/07 plan that he thought Jacobson had. Jim doesn’t think that the plan he has is what has been approved by Jim Jacobson. He sees at least one design flaw. Bill explains that because the site falls under
site law now, the easement for Hanson’s leach field doesn’t comply. Bill’s question is whether Hanson’s wastewater can be pulled up to the new site. The backup site could be the same site, according to Jim. If the existing field fails, it could be dug up and a new one could be placed on the same site. There is precedence for allowing the backup site to be the same as the proposed site. S.W. Cole has made design changes, according to Jim. The State says that the design flow is the responsibility of the designer.
DeLuca-Hoffman will verify any vernal pools after the snow gets off the property. Jere asked about the vernal pools on S.W. Cole’s plan of November. Bill stated that it was done in August when the land would be the driest. Bill stated that 90 percent of the State is affected by vernal pools. Jim is concerned about projects being held up because it’s not April or May to determine vernal pools. Jere asked when they could put the first shovel in the ground if everything goes perfectly. Frank stated that the hopeful date is May 1st. They would start disturbing the ground at that point. Jere thought that they could make it a condition of approval that the peer reviewer has a chance to look at the site before
construction can begin. S.W. Cole has said two things: the Class B survey and a qualified botanist. Caroline wondered if that is something the Town would have done. Bill says they could have people look through the area when they check for vernal pools with the list of flora that would need to be protected. Jere said that Gloria could ask Jim Smith about a chestnut tree for which the American Chestnut Society has concerns. The Board members thought that the tree was dead.
Keith says the house on the site is being prepared to be moved by Morin. Harry W. thought they’d be moving it within the next month. Fred Hill was concerned about the house being saved. They’re still waiting to hear back from Historic Preservation. It’s being saved. Jim said that it wasn’t considered historic because of the changes that have been made.
Brian wondered where they would go from here. Jere asked Bill if he thought it would be worth having one more meeting to discuss the wastewater plan. Bill asked about the power being underground, and Frank stated it was. He asked about a lighting plan? Bill would probably recommend some special provisions for blasting. Brian asked if DEP would cover that. Bill says they don’t distinguish private wells. He says its good insurance for the District and the Town. Bill advised against using purchlorates (sp?) for blasting since 2 pts per billion can cause significant birth defects. He raised two other concerns about blasting—tapping into the rock and another concern.
Caroline asked if they were going to have a lighting plan. The lights are shown on the drawing now. Frank stated they could do it if needed.
Harriman asked if a meeting could be held on March 31st at 7 p.m. Material would have to be in the Code Enforcement Office by noon on the 28th so Fred could take the packets around to the Planning Board members. Frank said they could half-size the plans for the Board members. If waste water is an issue, the Board can make a condition of approval – stated if approved by Bill as presented. Jere wanted to know if the Board agrees. Jim says the State has to look at it again and sign off on it. Officially Jim Jacobson has to approve. Bill says that the question about Hanson – what’s coming with it—and the sewage as well as the service area are big concerns of his. DEP approval is needed along with two DEH
approvals, and DOE approval is done – bids are due the middle of April. Some concern was raised about the project going out to bid before Planning Board approval—concerned about it being a “done deal.” The Army Corps of Engineers will go along with the DEP – the Corps approval will come as a separate approval. Well water registration if over a certain size was mentioned and a MCGP (storm water) Plan could be discussed on the 7th if there’s a problem with weather or they’re not ready. Harriman would appear on the 14th of April to set the public hearing, and the 28th would probably be the public hearing. The Road Commissioner won’t do anything because it’s a State road. Frank says that the State Fire Marshall has approved which is why the project is out to bid.
At this time, a meeting will be held between Harriman Assoc., DeLuca-Hoffman, a SAD 6 representative, and the Board on May 31, 2008, at 7 p.m. to discuss final issues that couldn’t be addressed at this meeting and concerns that were raised.
Approval Date: __________________
Jeremiah Ross, III, Chairman Signature Date