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Town of Acton
Planning Board Meeting Minutes
January 03, 2008
Members Present: Chip Venell, Jim Fiske, Tom Cashin, Keith Davis
Members Absent: Brian Bellanger, Randy Goodwin & Yoli Gallagher
Guests: Shelly Blaisdell (secretary), Ken Paul (CEO), John Moore, John Giardi (Town of
Wakefield, NH), Debi Rix, Mark Rix, Joseph Ruma, Patricia Dutil, John Steffens, Steve Bodkin,
Dick Neal, Pam McAlinden, Tom Rousseau, Pete Maher, Warren Seavey, Larissa Crockett,
Carl Beal (AS& A Developers), Pat Hannon
Meeting called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Chairman Chip Venell
1. Warren Seavey met with the board regarding his application for a conditional use permit.
Warren explains his plans to have a business on Sanborn Road where he restores antique cars
and fabricates panels for cars that are unavailable to purchase. The board reviews the
application packet to consider if it is a complete application. Mr. Seavey explains that he also
plans to add an addition for a utility room, office and small showroom to show the cars. Mr.
Seavey says the addition proposed will be 24’ by 480’ for the new business as well as his living
quarters. Chip explains to Mr. Seavey what the next step of the process is and asks for an
abutters list, and if there is a well and/or septic on the property now? Mr. Seavey says that the
well is already in and there is a tank in for septic but it is now covered with snow. He has an
approval from the State, but hasn’t completed it yet. Mr. Seavey pays $100.00 for the
application fee and Chip asks if anyone on the board has any questions? Tom asks Mr. Seavey
if he plans on having welding in his shop. Mr. Seavey says that he will not be doing welding in
the traditional sense but he may need to spot weld on occasion. Chip says that this is
something that the board may want to look at later on, but for now the board just needs to
make a determination as to whether this application is complete.
Tom Cashin makes a motion that the board find Mr. Warren Seavey’s application
complete. Keith seconds. All in favor. Passes 3-0.
A site walk is scheduled for January 19, 2008 at 9:00 a.m.on the property of Warren Seavey.
Public hearing is scheduled for February 7, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. for Warren Seavey project.
Chip asks Warren if he had a chance to look at other applications they have had for a similar
repair shop. Mr. Seavey says yes he has. Chip explains that he needs to be prepared to answer
questions regarding disposal of anti freeze and waste oil, and if any of these things are involved
in his business, he will have to have a plan for that disposal and how he plans to take it out of
the vehicles. Also, if he is going to have a company dispose of anything, something needs to be
in writing from them. If he is going to have batteries on site, he needs to tell them what his plan
is for storage of these, etc. Chip says to Warren that the more he is prepared and had the
necessary information, the quicker the process will go. Warren agrees and says that time is of
the essence due to him needing to be out of his current location in mid March.
2. Mr. Carl Beal of Civil Consultants gives a presentation to the board on behalf of AS&A for
the project on Foxes Ridge Road. Mr. Beal says that at the last meeting there were some issues
raised as to whether an entrance permit was needed from the road commissioner or DOT. He
said that a permit is needed and he included it in the boards packets tonight. Part of that
discussion also included site distance along Foxes Ridge Road. It is a 35 mph road and
technique for that speed says it needs appropriate site distance each way. DOT confirmed that
it meets all of the requirements each way. The State required a paved apron on that section of
road. Mr. Beal says the paved apron is 20 feet from the edge of the pavement back to the right
of way on Foxes Ridge Road. Chip says that is not even close to what the board will require.
Mr. Beal says that it is on the plans right now as to what the State requires. He also says that a
turn around for emergency vehicles has been added on proposed lot #1 and they will culvert that
lot with an easement which will allow the owner to maintain, plow or anything they need to do,
and anyone on Saunders Lane will be able to use that as a turn around. He also says that that
area will probably be the driveway for that lot because it is in a good area with good visibility.
Chip asks if that is on the wetlands? Mr. Beal says that it is not on the wetlands and is
approximately 100 feet from it. Mr. Beal also addresses questions that were posed by Jamie
Saltmarsh. He said her first comment was regarding the turn around location, and that was
before they allotted the legal bearings and distances on the plan, so they provided easements to
handle her first concern. Another question posed by Jamie is 11.4D she talks about the standard
for sidewalk lines be perpendicular to the street. He said the new lot line proposed between the
two lots that are being created is 128 feet and is perpendicular to the street, so he doesn’t
understand her comment regarding that. Chip says he thinks she is talking about the next street
over because it goes back at an angle. Mr. Beal explains that if she is concerned about the other
road, with road frontage, it is already an existing road with enough road to build on, so it doesn’t
apply. The other issue Jamie talks about, 11.12.B.2A, talks about the site distance on Foxes
Ridge Road and he says they responded to that with getting the DOT standards. 11.12.B.3
talks about the verified vertical alignment to road grades meeting the ordinance requirements.
Mr. Beal says that those requirements are a maximum of 8% and also a 2% grade on the first
25 feet to the intersection. He says that all of their grades on this road are between 1% and 3%
so they meet the requirements that are in Acton’s ordinances. Another question Jamie had is
11.12.B.5 which addresses skew angle, curve radius and curve width. Mr. Beal explains that the
skew angle on the intersection that comes into Foxes Ridge Road is approximately 84 degrees
and the old ordinance that they are under says it needs to be between 60 and 90 degrees so they
meet that criteria. Curve radius does not apply to a private way, but they do have a 30 foot
radii at the intersection, so they do meet that requirement. The width of that portion of the
ordinance says 24 to 26 feet, again a private way is a minimum of 18 feet, so he doesn’t feel that
it applies. Curb cut width requests a range of between 74 and 110 feet at the intersection and
they actually have 75 feet so they meet that criteria. 11.12.B.2 talks about a petuitous concrete
paved apron and he says they have shown a paved apron 20 feet from the end of the pavement
to the right of way line based on DOT’s permit. Mr. Beal says that if more of an apron is
required then they can do that back to the right of way line. 12.1.E you talk about a note in the
plan that says there shall be a private way, etc. which actually is a requirement under the new
ordinance, which they are not under. Mr. Beal says that if at some point in the future somebody
wanted to approve this, they could petition the Town for acceptance and the note is on the plan
to be recorded. Jamie's concern regarding 12.2.H just wants to verify that Saunders Lane will
meet the private way criteria and he says that it does according to his statement. 12.2.J.2
addresses stopping site distance along Saunders Lane. Mr. Beal says that cars will be able to
stop easily because minimal stopping site distance in the ordinance is 125 feet and that is met at
any point along Saunders Lane using the height of object, etc. in the ordinance. The last point
that Jamie asks about is 12.2.J.3 regarding site distances at intersections. Mr. Beal says he is
not sure what she meant by that . He explains that the standard requires 250 feet of site
distance at the intersections and they have 500 feet each way on Foxes Ridge Road. He says
the existing alignment does wind around, but unless she is talking about driveways, Mr. Beal
says that he doesn’t feel that applies. Chip questions what Jamie meant by that and says he
thinks that she is probably talking about Foxes Ridge Road off of Saunders and can you see 500
feet site distance. Mr. Beal says he feels that they have answered all of Jamie Saltmarsh’s
comments and feels they have answered everything with their plans as they are currently. Keith
Davis asks Mr. Beal if he is saying that they are going to meet the criteria for width of 18 feet.
Mr. Beal says they are going to have 24 feet total with 18 feet of right of way. Chip asks Mr.
Beal for copies of the two pages of the plans that show the updates, along with Mylars to be
signed at some point. Chip asks the board how they wish to proceed? Keith asks Tom if he is
comfortable with this? Tom says yes he is, and Keith reads ordinances A - N from the old
ordinance book, page 52. Chip asks what the proposed cost is for the improvements? Mr. Beal
says it is at $10,000.00 for road improvements. Chip says that they are going to need
something to ensure that once the work begins it will be completed. Mr. Beal says he can
provide a letter of credit to cover this. Ken Paul says this is acceptable. Keith asks about the
insurance maps showing it in a flood prone area, and Mr. Beal says that it is not in a flood zone.
Chip asks for discussion on any conditions. Keith asks if they will receive a copy of the deed
showing the burden of the easement. Ken asks for a letter from Civil Consultants that says the
road is up to standard before issuance of permits. Chip also tells Mr. Beal that the name will
also need to be approved by the Road Naming Committee before it can be used officially. Chip
asks Mr. Beal to update his maps before the board signs the Mylars, and asks him to do that
and come back. Mr. Beal says that he will get that done. Chip asks for a motion.
Tom makes a motion that the board approve the Saunders Lane subdivision with
conditions as discussed. Keith seconds. All in favor Pass 3-0
3. Proposed review of the Pat Hannon application. Chip asks if there are any questions for Pete
Maher? Tom says he feels someone should clarify what Randy Thome meant in his e mail
dated December 12, 2007 when referring to taking the job as consultant,and says that he is
basically talking about how he could provide the board with a peer review for Mr. Hannon’s
proposal. Tom continues to read from Mr. Thome’s letter and comments that what impressed
him about the letter was that he feels it shows a track record of his dealings with transfer
stations because they design them and work closely with municipalities.
Chip asks if anyone has any questions for Pete Maher since he is at the meeting tonight. No
questions from the board or audience members. Chip asks Mr. Maher, with regards to peer
review, has his firm has had an opportunity to review other transfer stations for various entities?
Mr. Maher said they generally design different waste disposal facilities and provide peer reviews
in that regards. Chip asks Mr. Maher if the board decides to go with his firm, would he be able
to meet with the board relatively soon to go over whatever the applicants proposal is and to
point out things that the board may need to address? Mr. Maher answers that his schedule is
Tom said that Mr. Maher indicated the first time he met with the board that his firm had never
conducted a peer review on behalf of a municipality concerning a transfer station or waste facility
and he thinks it is a valid concern for the board. Mr. Maher agrees that he did say that and said
that peer reviews that he has done in the past have traditionally been more subdivision, ground
water and that type of thing. Tom said that after seeing what Woodard & Curran are proposing,
he feels the specific areas of their experience speak for themselves. Keith asks if he spoke with
Michelle regarding this issue, and did Mr. Thome say to Michelle he wasn’t interested in taking
the job of independent consultant? Tom said Randy Thome wasn’t looking for a job but sent in
his materials for consideration. Mr. Maher said that Woodard & Curran has probably dealt alot
with waste disposal and are probably second to his firm in this area. He said that his firm
probably does two out of every three facilities and the board may need to go with his firm due to
the volume of work and his connection with the other firms he works for. The board asks Mr.
Maher if he foresees a conflict. He said there are basically four major landfills and his firm
works for three of those four, therefore he needs to be sensitive to their current clients needs.
Keith says that that could be a perceived conflict and Mr. Maher agrees because this land fill
could be possible competition. Shelly Blaisdell spoke to Michelle Rumney by phone and shares
with the board that Michelle said she talked with Randy Thome and he said he didn’t want to
chase the work. He was under the understanding after talking to people in town that he was
going to be hired automatically and when he found out that wasn’t the case, he recommended
Sevee & Maher and said they were a good company. He said if he was going to be hired
automatically he was open to that, but he wasn’t willing to chase the job.
Pat Hannon said that he doesn’t see the peer review as being this intensive peer review that
would need a solid waste engineer giving advice on acceptable practices, what the State would
allow, etc. That is what he thought the application for solid waste facility would bring. Chip
says that his impression was that the peer review is an engineer going over the plans and saying
this will work and this won’t. Chip asks Tom what he thinks a peer review will do other than
that. Tom said he thought that he wanted everyone to contribute to the discussion and have a
workshop with Mr. Hannon and also have him contribute to this peer review. He said that the
board will be numerating areas where they need substantive information as to the means by
which to achieve A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I & J. There will be some work generated by those
things and this firm would be looking at those documents and basically holding them up and
seeing if the applicant’s plans in this particular aspect of the project will meet State and Federal
guidelines. Chip asks Mr. Maher what his opinion is as to how the board should proceed, either
with a peer review or not, and is this something that his firm could help the town with? Mr.
Maher said that Acton doesn’t have any real specific standards, unfortunately, so he feels that
the town will have difficulty there. Mr. Maher said he feels that you don’t have a lot leverage
holding anyone's feet to the fire on a lot of things because your performance standards are pretty
general. The board needs to do the best they can based on the peer reviewers experience in all of
the areas that are spoken of in your performance specs, so you want to find someone that has all
those levels of experience. For instance, his firm doesn’t have wetlands scientists on staff, so
they subcontract that out. Chip asks Mr. Maher if he has seen the Towns performance
standards and if he thinks that his firm would be able to address the performance standards they
have with the proposal that Mr. Hannon has presented to the board? Is there anything in the
performance standards that his firm would not be able to review? Mr. Maher says that there
may be a few such as wetland issues since they don’t have people on staff. They would
subcontract that out. Mr. Maher says that his experience has been with a set of regulations that
are very thick and the State regulations are so specific and give details about these facilities.
This is where his mindset is and ultimately anything that is designed or permitted hasto go to a
State review or a State permit so it is going to have to meet all of those criteria, and eventually
the project will have to follow the State regulations and they are pretty detailed. Mr. Hannon
comments that he will again say that maybe the planning board wants to consider additional
approval of this project pending review of the States regs. He said he doesn’t see the board
putting any more restrictions on than what the State requires. Keith says he is always looking
for more information and more knowledge on how things work and would like to know prior to it
going to the State. Pete Maher said that it has been his experience that all town permits are
contingent upon State approval of all permits that they require.
Pete reiterates his reservations about taking on this project due to a possible conflict of interest
and working with other commercial land fills that may be competition for this project. Chip
asks Pete Maher if he would rather not have the town of Acton hire him. Peter Maher says that
it could become a little complicated and probably best to go with another independent
Tom makes a motion that the planning board retain the firm of Woodard and
Curran for it’s help with the solid waste services on the Hannon application. Keith
seconds. All in favor Pass 3-0
Mr. Hannon asks what Woodard & Curran’s rates are, and if the board could find out what there
multiplier is before hiring them. Chip explains that it is up to the Selectmen to enter into a
contract with them and if Woodard & Curran accepts, then the details of price will be worked out
then. He tells Pat Hannon that they will have more proposals on rates at the next meeting.
4. Steve Bodkin presents his plan to harvest land at Map 260; Lot 10, and explains the process
in detail. Chip asks how well is this controlled and about street crossings? Mr. Bodkin explains
that there are not street crossings and limited wetland areas. He explains that doing the work in
winter is the best time because this is when the least amount of soil erosion occurs, and feels
that this is the best management practices for the job. Chip requests that they address a few
things that are listed in the ordinance, and asks him about the abutters list.
Tom asks where the property lines are in connection to the cutting? Mr. Bodkin explains that
the lot lines are clearly marked and his desire is to begin the paperwork, have the public hearing
and a site walk right away because of the season we are in.
Chip makes comments and points out page 74 and 75 and says that the board is under a
microscope and needs to be careful on how they do things with this application. Chip says he is
not sure if they have the option to waive the perimeter survey requirements. Tom points out
that on page 74 6.3.3 it says that the board may waive a survey with a vote.
Keith makes a motion to waive the perimeter survey needing to be done with the
timber harvesting done by Steve Bodkin at Map 260, Lot 10. Jim Seconds
Steve Bodkin comments, and Chip asks if there is anything else the board feels they should
waive while they are at it. Keith points out that there is nothing else that is applicable to this
application. All in favor Passed 3-0
A site walk is set up for Saturday, January 26, 2008 at 9:00 a.m. and a public hearing is
scheduled for February 7, 2008 at 7:30 p.m.
Keith makes a motion to accept the meeting minutes of November 15, 2007.
Jim seconds. All in favor Passed 3-0
Tom makes a motion to accept the meeting minutes of December 6, 2007.
Keith seconds. All in favor. Passed 3-0
Motion made by Tom to adjourn the meeting. Second by Keith. All in favor.
Meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.