Town of Buxton Planning Board
February 22, 2010
Recorded by Hilda Lynch
Board Members Present: David Savage, Sr.; Jeremiah Ross, III; Keith Emery; Harry Kavouksorian; James Logan; and David Anderson
Board Members Absent: Caroline Segalla
Others Present: William Thompson (BH2M), Stephen Joffe, Julia Colpitts; from Gorham: Thomas Poirier, Asst. Town Planner; Susan Robie, Planning Board Chair; Thomas Fickett; Thomas Hughes; Mark Stelmack; Edward Zelmanow, Planning Board Members (two members absent); Sandra Mowery; Gorham Zoning Admin.
Chairman Harry Kavouksorian called the February 22, 2010, meeting of the Buxton Planning Board together at 7:05 p.m.
Pledge of Allegiance
Joint meeting with the Town of Gorham for final approval of Steven Joffe and Julia Colpitts’ 29-lot subdivision, Blueberry Ridge, having 7 lots located in Buxton and 22 lots in Gorham with the access off Webster and Church Hill Roads; Tax Map 7, Lot 30.
Bill Thompson spoke for owners Steve Joffe and Julia Colpitts regarding the 22 lots in Gorham and 7 lots in Buxton named Blueberry Ridge. They’ve appeared before both Boards on numerous occasions. They’re here for final review and approval. The last meeting with Buxton was May 11, 2009. They’ve received preliminary approval from Gorham on February 2, 2009. They’ve received a DEP site location permit, and Army Corps permit, and NRPA permits for the stream crossing and wetland alterations on October 5, 2009. Bill went through the last items in May for the Buxton Board:
1. Plan Sheet 1, Note 27, was amended to include language about limits of cutting trees in the open space.
2. Plan Sheet 13 was amended so the roadway cross-section matches the Gorham standard.
3. Revised Phase One construction estimate - separated out the erosion control ($2,000 separate line item)
4. The Fire Chief viewed the Plans and submitted his letter and had no issues
5. The Town’s Attorney has reviewed the covenants and bylaws of the homeowners’ documents.
On February 2, 2009, BH2M and the owners held their last meeting with Gorham. The letter of January 21, 2010, referenced the changes from the Feb. 2 meeting:
1. Existing trails have been shown throughout this project. These tend to follow logging trails that are now within the open space areas. Potential trails that could connect to what is existing have been shown. The developers’ intentions were not to cut trees and delineate an exact location of a trail. This improvement should be left to the Homeowner’s Assn. to decide what they would like to do. The potential location for trail connection can stay out of any wetland and thus eliminate any further wetland impacts. The forest density allows for ease of walking in the open space. Every home has direct access to the open space, which allows them to enjoy the setting without a defined trail.
2. The grading on the cul-de-sac (roadway sheet) has been redrawn to confirm to the typical crowned roadway section.
3. An Offer of Cession has been completed for the entire Gorham roadway areas. This also includes the two reserved 50-foot wide right of ways leading to the abutting properties.
4. The reference to the drainage easements along the road right of way and Drainage Easement A along Lot 15 has been described as part of the Offer of Cession.
5. The signature blocks now have seven lines for both towns to sign.
6. An itemized construction estimate has been included for all three phases. With the exception of the intersection of Spiritwood Circle and Deacon’s Field Road, all of Phase I is in the Town of Buxton.
7. Note 40 has been added to the Plan Sheet 1. They’ve reduced it to meet the Army Corps regulations to try to cross the steam at 90 degrees, thus minimizing impact. This is a request for a waiver for the reduced tangent length between reverse curves.
8. The Declaration of Covenant and Restrictions Section 10 has language added to indicate that the homeowners association shall be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the storm water facility in total.
9. Note 38 on Plan Sheet 1 has been amended to closely match the DEP Permit Condition 15.
10. Note 38 on Plan Sheet 1 has also been further revised to match the DEP Permit Section 13.
11. Note 24 on Plan Sheet 1 has been rewritten to include language that states the buffers shall be clearly marked prior to start of site clearing.
12. Note 41 has been added to Plan Sheet 1 indicating there may be a need for foundation drains due to site conditions (peer review request).
13. Enclosing another copy of the signed and sealed soil report and plan.
14. We feel that the limit of the number of bedrooms is best stated on the approval plans for the code officer and a potential lot owner to review.
15. Included the storm water inspection and maintenance plan that was approved by DEP as Exhibit A to the homeowners association documents.
16. Section 1.2 of the By Laws has been rewritten to include that the responsibility
to maintain the streets stays with the homeowners association if the towns do not accept these streets.
17. The applicants and owners are now Stephen A. Joffe and Julia C. Colpitts. Blueberry Fields LLC is not part of this approval.
Bill stated that there are three additional items:
1. Note 31 outlined street trees to be planted. Each lot includes two street trees at the property boundary outside the road right of way unless existing mature trees can be saved. There is a 20 ft. easement outside of the road right of way.
2. Plan Sheet 9 shows landscaping of the cul-de-sac and the grading of Lot 25
3. Existing trails and potential walking trails are shown on the Plan and a potential connection outside of wetlands. This provides some guidance to the homeowners should they decide to do this.
Jim asked about the DEP Permit, which referred to the wetlands being indicated on the site. Bill said they would like to have iron rods with a red cap that says, “Buffer - do not disturb.” Bill said he didn’t know if that was required. They have purchased the red caps with “Buffer” stamped on it so plan to use those.
Susan mentioned three issues. She referred to a plan note that is no longer permissible through their ordinances. Bill mentioned Note 35 on the Plan. In lieu of a Performance Guarantee for the Buxton project construction in each phase, no lot or parcel can be conveyed and no building permits, etc. The other note would cover the Performance Guarantee (125%). He made the note more directed.
The trail is the second issue. She believes they have to vote on a waiver - the 100 ft. tangent between reverse curves on the road approaching the stream crossing. Mark mentioned the Site Designer supporting a waiver and the reasons why are listed. He thinks this is a pretty strong argument for supporting the waiver request.
- Tom motioned, seconded by Mark, to grant a waiver stating that they allow the reduced tangent. Six yeas.
She asked if the Board wanted to grant conditional final approval regarding the drainage easements. No one objected.
The third item she asked about was the proposed walking trails. Does the Board want the applicant to provide detail? In cluster developments, the developer has more obligations, she stated. Tom Poirier has looked into this. There were six subdivisions in Gorham, of which four required trails and walking access. He mentioned the four developments that required walking trails. They also required them for a commercial subdivision. Susan said that the Board is obligated to treat people similarly. Although the trails are shown, she felt they came to an abrupt end at the north side of the circle. She doesn’t see how the people on the south side have direct access to the trails. She said that about 900 linear feet are laid
out which seems like a lot; they may want some connection with the end of the trail to the road or elsewhere.
Bill’s understanding was that the Board was in agreement that the trails be shown and where additional trails could be built. If the applicant builds them and the homeowners don’t want them, will they go into a state of disrepair? It has been a requirement of the homeowners association that they maintain them. In reviewing the ordinance, Chapter 3 - he refers to the open space... They felt that they’ve provided this.
Mr. Hughes doesn’t disagree but he wants to know if this could be handled with a Condition of Approval. Susan said they’d have to come to some kind of agreement about how this would be handled. Tom H doesn’t want to hold up final approval. Susan thought they could make it a plan note that it be up to the developer rather than the homeowners association. Susan referred to Sheet 1 of the Plan. Mark asked if they were going to require a cross-section or something like that. Susan mentioned a material for the trails. Mr. Hughes mentioned the homeowners’ association. He thought it would be years before all of the people might be in the development, so how long would they wait to do something like this? He doesn’t want to hold up the
plans. Mark’s opinion is that the trail layout may be the last thing the homeowners association would want to talk about. Susan mentioned that the trails indicated are a very long length - more than anything they’ve ever required. One suggestion would be to connect it to existing walking trail between two lots.
Mr. Joffe’s impression is that they enjoy the woods without having a trail there. They didn’t think it was fair to impose a trail on the owners. He thought that if the existing trails were shown that this would be adequate. There is a cost to make it and maintain it, which he doesn’t want to impose upon the homeowners. He thinks the majority may not want a walking trail there. They can decide what they’d want for their neighborhood. Adding this would drive up the cost of the project which he doesn’t think is fair in this economy.
Susan’s memory is that they didn’t quite agree. Tom F says that there will be turnover in the development. He suggests that perhaps a trail escrow account could be set up by the developer in case the association says they want to go ahead. If it means putting an assessment on the homeowners, it would mean they could make a decision about it. Access to the open space to all of the lots is of concern to Susan. There is good access to the lots in the top curve, but she believes that access is missing from the circle. Providing an easement between Lots 25 and 26 to access the trails might provide access for some of the lots that don’t have direct access.
Bill asked if a pedestrian easement between two lots would suffice? Bill said they could show a pedestrian easement between two lots. She mentioned putting some stone dust down to mark it. David A (Buxton) mentioned that 25 and 26 would be the center of the circle. Susan mentioned between 26 and 27 might be a better choice as it would be a little flatter…or between 27 and 28 - a 5’ easement. They would need to make a reasonable access to the back land as a Plan note. It will be shown and noted on the Plan, Bill stated.
Mr. Z asked about bringing it back around to the back corner of 29 - have it come around the circle and have it connect to the walking trail. Mr. Z asked why they wouldn’t want to do this as they have it marked on the Plan. Susan thought it was a lot to ask. Bill suggested they do this in wood chips as it is a natural material. Mr. Hughes suggested the homeowners could do what they wanted ten years down the road. There will be a 5’ easement between Lots 26 and 27 to provide access to the rest of the subdivision.
Tom F asked about the plowing situation between the two towns. This would be between the Public Works Depts. They would work this out when the roads are accepted and make the agreement? Mr. Poirier said he talked with the Public Works Department, and they said they’d work it out when the roads are accepted. Keith mentioned another road where an agreement has been made with Buxton and Scarborough.
Mr. Hughes is familiar with homeowners’ association by-laws. He mentions that suspending a homeowner doesn’t do much. A lien can be placed on their property. He thinks this is a weak article, and he would take a look at it. Article 2, 2.2 - the financial well being of the association can be beneficial in getting a house sold.
Mark S referred to exhibit A of the homeowner’s documents. It is well prepared until one gets to the last page - Housekeeping - is this just an example? This is what is recommended by DEP, Bill stated. Once the homeowners association is formed, they will decide who will be responsible for this. There are a lot of references to other sections. The applicant will be the responsible party until the homeowners association is formed. Pg. 34 of Appendix B - there are a lot of questions in there for a person in a homeowners association. Bill stated that this is a guideline. The onus is on the homeowners association to determine the meaning. The DEP permit number is missing from the last page. Bill said the Plans have the permit
number on them but will have it added there. Mr. Hughes said the first thing that is done when a homeowners association is formed is to set up a committee to change the documents.
Jim (Buxton) says the DEP permit is very explicit about no more than three bedrooms per home maximum - Note 38. That has been changed from the original note. He wonders how much the homeowners docs should be in agreement with this note. What happens when someone comes in and wants to build a 4-bedroom home. He wonders if there should be a reference. He asked Tom P what he thinks. He thinks it is a good idea, but the enforcement factor would be difficult. It is incumbent upon the Code Enforcement Officer to let people know about these things. Bill stated that they would go back to DEP if someone wanted to build a 4-bedroom home. The hydro geologic would be resubmitted. Bill said they will re-visit Note 38.
Harry asked if the Gorham Board was ready. Tom Poirier had a statement drafted for two amendments to the Findings: one on the trails and the second on Plan Note 11 (new) that prior to the endorsement, a pedestrian easement will be added with a wood chip base.
Tom P said they would vote for final approval.
- Motioned by Mr. Stelmack, seconded by Mr. Hughes, that they grant final approval for a 29-lot subdivision, Blueberry Fields, with 22 lots in Gorham. Five yeas.
- Motioned by Mr. Stelmack, seconded by Mr. Fickett, to amend the motion. Five yeas.
- Motioned by Mr. Stelmack, seconded by Mr. Hughes, to change Blueberry Fields LLC, to Blueberry Ridge by Stephen Joffe and Julia Colpitts. Five yeas.
- Motioned by Mr. Hughes, seconded by Mr. Fickett, to approve the application as published prior to the meeting and the amending this evening of the Findings of Fact as above. Five yeas.
- Motioned by Keith, seconded by David S, to approve the application for Julia Colpitts and Stephen Joffe with conditions stated this evening and prior meetings. All voted in favor.
Harry read the standard Conditions of Approval:
1. All elements and features of the application and all representations made by the applicant concerning the development and use of the property which appear in the record of the Planning Board proceedings are conditions of the approval. No change from the Conditions of Approval is permitted unless an amended plan is first submitted to and approved by the Planning Board.
2. That the applicant be in compliance with all applicable provisions of Article 13.
3. All outstanding bills paid before building permit is issued.
Julia spoke about an agreement between her father and her years ago. They appreciate the working together of the two Boards and hope the people who live there will enjoy the land as much as they have.
- Mr. Hughes motioned, Mr. Fickett seconded, to adjourn the Gorham Planning Board. Five yeas.
Fred wasn’t present at this time.
Approval of Minutes:
February 8, 2010
- Motioned by Keith, seconded by Jim, to accept the minutes as printed. All voted in favor.
Approval of Bills:
David A asked for approval for a payment to Portland Press Herald for $50.46 for the public notice for Normand Berube Builders’ Sunset Ridge subdivision.
- Jim motioned, seconded by David S, to pay the above. All voted in favor.
David A mentioned that he followed up with SMRPC, and he has not gotten any reply back. He will ask for the final bill with the revision discussed this week. He will copy the chairman (Harry) so they have continued record.
Note from DEP regarding citizen complaints about their quality of drinking water.
Withdrawal of Holly Graves’ application to pursue a subdivision approval
Notes from Caroline suggesting an ordinance change about a standard for blasting in the town. Harry asked about how they inspect for it? Who is qualified to judge this?
David A thinks this is beyond the scope of the Planning Board. Jim says that there haven’t been any planning conditions put on any subdivisions he’s seen. He would be open to suggestions Caroline might have. David S asked if the State has anything in place? Other Board members believe that the State has specific regulations. The blasting company is required to video pre- and post-blast, a survey, a notification time, etc.
Review proposed peer review applicants
Harry thinks that they would pick one and then have a back up. Jere mentioned that they didn’t get one of the potential reviewers until this evening. Keith said that due to the snowstorm, these went out early. They thought they should consider everything before them. Jim thought Caroline might have pretty extensive experience with these firms. Their plan would be to have one on retainer and then have another as a backup. They thought they might like a third in case there was a conflict of interest or depending on the company’s area of expertise. Jere would like to review the packet they received this evening. They would also like Caroline’s input.
Keith thinks that if there is a dead-end subdivision, it should not end on a downhill slope. Keith thinks that the last 200 ft. should be flat. He discussed it with the Public Works Director, and he agrees. David A. thinks it is valid and a safety concern. Jim mentioned a crash barrier. Jim thinks there is a limit on the grade for a road. If the ordinance doesn’t have it, then there should be an ordinance related to road grade. Jim mentioned talking with Caroline about it. Jim thought they could call for a crash barrier at the end of a hammerhead. Jere thought it would be up to the Public Works Director. David A. found that the ordinance does have it - the grade shall be no more than 10% (12.6).
There was some discussion about the timetable for submission of ordinances. The Town Council would have to review them before the Planning Board sends them to the Selectmen. Keith mentioned that he thought Caroline had two others: one was that hammerheads be on the right, and the other he couldn’t recall. They discussed having the public hearing. Jim suggested they send what they have, and they could send any others when they have them. Jere thought they could send them now. Jim then argued to wait until they have everything to send them to Bill.
- Motioned by Jim, seconded by Jere, to adjourn the meeting at 8:47 p.m. All voted in favor.
Approval Date: __________
Harry Kavouksorian, Chairman Signature Date