Planning Board Meeting Minutes – 4/13/21

Roll Call: Present were Board members Chair Jeff Miller, Vice-Chair Dennis Marcom, Clerk Jason Perron, Jeff Harrington, Joanna Andros, Bill Carmody, Select Board Representative Steve Dalessio and Alternate Trevor McLachlan.

Recording: Secretary Marilou Blaine. This meeting is being recorded. These minutes are unapproved and will be reviewed at the April 2021 meeting for corrections, additions and/or omissions.

Meeting coming to order: Mr. Miller called the meeting to order at 7 pm.

Election of Officers: Mr. Dalessio made a motion to elect Chair Jeff Miller, Vice-Chair Dennis Marcom, Secretary or Clerk Jason Perron as officers for the year. The motion was seconded and approved by the entire Board.

Minutes: Mr. Marcom made three corrections to the minutes: On page 2, change “lot” to “house;” on page 4, change “once” to “ones;” add the following statement to the second sentence in the second paragraph on page 5, “Ms. Darrow said she would provide some suggestions for writing deed restrictions for stormwater management and erosion control.” Mr. Perron made a motion to approve the amended minutes. Mr. Marcom seconded the motion and the motion carried.

New Business

Public Hearing No. 1.

Site Plan: MDB Holdings LLC – Pinnacleview Equipment, 19 Pinnacle Lane, Map 12, Lot 11, Route 12,  Commercial District. Build 7,500 square-foot warehouse on southwest corner of property. Co-owner Mr. Snide represented MDB Holdings. 

Mr. Snide introduced himself and said Pinnacleview wanted to build a 7,500 square-foot warehouse on the property. Two views of the proposed warehouse were put on the display screen for the public to see. He said that two old storage trailers would be removed and the new building would be used for dry storage of equipment. The building will not have heat, will have LED motion-sensor lights inside, have outside lights for security and be vinyl-sided. The warehouse will be placed in the southwest corner of the property. 

Ms. Andros asked if there would be any paving. Mr. Snide said no, they would be using Sure Pack. Mr. Marcom said the property is near the well where the town gets its water. He asked if there would be any chance of any stored equipment affecting the well. Mr. Snide said no. All equipment repairs are done in the main building on Route 12. 

There being no further questions of the public or discussion by the board, Mr. Miller closed the public hearing. Mr. Perron made a motion to approve the project as presented. Mr. Harrington seconded the motion and the motion carried.

Public Hearing: No.2

Site Plan: Change of Use. Main&Elm LLC, 8 Huntington Lane, Map 12, Lot  5, Commercial District. Chanoge from a chiropractor’s office to a chocolate factory. The business will be called LABurdick Granada dba Jovay Chocolate. Owners are Larry and Paula Burdick,

Daughter Marietta Burdick presented the chocolate factory proposal. She said the proposal was to build a chocolate factory at 8 Huntington Lane – that included all the steps for making chocolate and getting it to the public would be done at that facility. Some steps are: chocolate tempering and molding, chocolate storage, packing and shipping. There will be three employees: Larry, Paula and Marietta Burdick. The lot has six parking spaces in back of the building. There is no retail planned at this time. If, in the foreseeable future, the Burdicks do plan to sell chocolates from this location, they will have to return to the Planning Board for permission. 

Mr. Dalessio asked if they were going to hook up to the sewer line that goes to the Chamberlain facility. Ms. Burdick said they are using currently using the septic system and well on the property. Someone asked if there is anything in the process of making chocolate that would be detrimental to either system and should not be disposed of down the drain. Ms. Burdick said they are using use a grease trap.

There being no further questions or discussion from the public or Board, Mr. Miller closed the public hearing.  Mr. Marcom made a motion to approve the proposal as presented. Mr. Perron seconded the motion and the motion carried.

Old Business:

Public Hearing continued from January meeting.

Subdivision: Jay Landry subdivide two lots into four lots, Map 17, Lots 5 and 5-1, land between Old Keene Rd. and Wentworth Rd., Residential A. Mr. Joe DiBernardo was the surveyor on the project and presenter for Mr. Landry. He said all lots have the required 200 feet road frontage and 40,000 square feet in the Residential A district. 

The new lots would be:

​ Lot 5.1 – 2.19 acres with 200 feet road frontage on Wentworth Road; 

​ Lot 5-2 – 1.67 acres with 200 feet road frontage on Wentworth Road; 

​ Lot 5-3 – 1.15 acres with 200 feet road frontage on Wentworth Road;

​ and 5-4 – 6.22 acres with 203.61 feet road frontage on Old Keene Road and Wentworth Road.​ ​48.5 feet road frontage on Wentworth Road.

This application for this proposal for a subdivision is dated November 5, 2020 and it was first presented to the Board at the regular November meeting with a request that a public hearing be held in December. The December meeting was canceled because Governor Chris Sununu closed the states’ Town Halls to in-person meetings because of the increase in Covid cases. So the first public hearing on the property was held in January via zoom. Several abutters and other homeowners in the neighborhood stated that this project shouldn’t go forward because they were already greatly affected by stormwater runoff that regularly damaged their properties and that by adding an additional four homes to an area above them would only exacerbate the problem. In addition, water capacity was an issue. It was noted that a couple of wells in the area had gone dry within the last two years and that the farther up the hills of Wentworth and Old Keene Roads one went, the fewer gallons per minute of water were flowing from wells. The February continuation of the public meeting was canceled at the request of the applicant because Mr. Landry was seeking guidance from experts in the field on what was actually going on and how to possibly mitigate the problem. The March meeting included an extensive presentation by civil engineer Erin Darrow of Right Angle Engineering LLC who spoke about using swales and raingardens as mitigation tactics. Ms. Darrow was not at tonight’s meeting. 

Mr. Miller opened tonight’s discussion on this topic by asking if the public wanted to make any comments before the Planning Board began discussing a decision on the subdivision. Abutter Mr. Bob Anderson was the first to speak. He said although he’s lived in Walpole for several years, he is a new​ neighbor and would like to welcome the Landrys to the neighborhood. He suggested that if the homes being built have a deed restriction that the homes have a 15-foot peak that would mean that the construction would have to be one-floor structures.

Mr. Todd Neilsen, an abutter, resident and business owner in Walpole for 28 years, said he wanted to address comments made by Jay Landry at the March 9, 2021 meeting and that were in the March Planning Board minutes. Mr. Neilsen said that Mr. Landry said, and I quote, “It would be in our interest to have neighbors that consider preserving the land and keeping the land as is,” Mr. Neilsen said. “Keeping the land ‘as is’ will be impossible given Mr. Landry’s plans to split 5 acres of his 11.23 acres into three lots, two of which consist of dense forest. The fourth remaining lot is his personal 6.22-acre lot that is mainly cleared field. This lot is more similar in size to some nearby lots with newer houses while the remaining three proposed subdivided lots are much smaller and not in keeping with the lower Wentworth neighborhood. Two of the small lots are densely forested, which will require eliminating most of the trees so that each plot can have a house, garage, driveway, well and septic system, lawn etc. Cutting down many trees is certainly not quote ‘preserving the land and keeping the land as is,’ unquote, nor is adding 2 more plots and 4 more buildings to an undeveloped parcel.”

Abutter Jeff Colley spoke next. Mr. Colley and his wife, Beth, live on Old Keene Road and according to Mr. Colley, his property is in the path of the stormwater runoff from the one of the lots in the proposed subdivision, draining off the hillside. He said that stormwater runoff has flowed down his driveway damaging the garage floor. He has also had to make repairs to the uphill basement wall, which is subject to groundwater penetration. He said it seems that the town doesn’t have the manpower to keep the drainage ditch above his driveway free of obstructions,” he said. “The status quo is not working and this means that potential increases in runoff will only worsen the problems.”

“ We’re also concerned for the long-term well water capacity of the neighborhood. Drought conditions are increasingly routine and none of us wants to drill a new well, as my neighbor three doors down on Old Keene Road had to do last year because his dug well ran dry. My wife and I are not alone in holding these concerns.

“You have before you a petition and cover letter signed by a majority of the property abutters and other affected parties. All of us oppose the subdivision. We believe that increased stormwater runoff from the hillside would be a potential threat to property and four additional houses would, in time, overstress local well capacity. The cover letter included with the petition is of note because it places the applicant’s submitted documents along side the town’s Master Plan and the land Subdivision Control Regulations. As you will have read, there are omissions in the applicant’s responses, which creates doubt that the Board has sufficient information to make a fully informed decision about the proposal. Because of the concerns regarding the potential for increase stormwater damage, the potential for long-term impacts on local well water capacity and an insufficient application from the applicant, we encourage the Board to not approve the proposed subdivision.”

Mr. Miller asked Mr. Landry if he wanted to comment. Mr. Landry said that Mr. Neilsen took his words, which may have been paraphrased, out of context. At the time that I was speaking about it “as is,” I was speaking about that to all the abutters. But there is a pathway to keep the land “as is.” It’s simply, let’s talk and perhaps there’s a way to purchase the lots and keep them in that way. That is not my plan, but that pathway exists.”

Cynthia Reeves is also an abutter. Her concerns brought up in previous meetings were about water usage as well as water runoff but a primary concern for Ms. Reeves is preserving the water quality in the natural springs located at the top of their property on the eastern boundary. The Spring House is marked on the plan and this water feeds the cistern in the main house. How close can any new structure/leach field come to an active spring? How close are property lines next to the spring? What will be the immpact on aquifers?  

At this meeting Reeves said she was concerned how the raingardens, one of which is very near that area on her property, would affect the springs located at the top of the property. And, she said, there is potential and opportunity now for an easement around that area that would protect those springs. A third concern is if the drought conditions continue to exist and have its impact on the wells, we all have to anticipate and contemplate these conditions as a concept and collectively plan and accommodate to a drought. She suggested that the subdivision of property from two properties into four lots would not help with problem.

Cynthia Lytle lives in the neighborhood at 186 Wentworth Road. She said on Thanksgiving Day a few years ago her well went dry and they had no running water. Her concern was about well water capacity and having four houses on the two lots. 

Mr. Miller said the Board has had a lot of information presented and at this time Jhe’d like to hear a motion. Mr. Miller closed the public hearing.

Mr. Perron said that at the last meeting there was a discussion about changes to the plat. He asked Mr. Bernardo if he had come up with anything. Mr. DiBernardo suggested that the wording be “At the time of construction, the houses on this property should submit plans regarding stormwater management according to the suggestions of Right Angle Engineering LLC and recorded in the minutes.’’ Someone asked if he was talking about the swales and the raingardens. He said yes.

Mr. DiBernardo pointed to the plat that showed the location of swales and raingardens on all the lots, all except the 6-acre lot, although that lot would also have these features. He said it was not going to be exactly identical because we don’t know where the houses are going to be. But it’s the practice of this design that’s important. For example, and he pointed to the top of the plat on the property abutting Ms. Reeves’ property, this up here could be vertical. The swales drain into a basin and it should help matters. The basins have ¾ -inch stone at the bottom, then layers of compost, topsoil and clay, sand, permeable soil mixture and then plants for a garden go on top. The plants suck up and diffuses the water so it doesn’t form into a major channels coming off the hill. This is going to help matters. 

Mr. DiBernardo explained that once they go for a building application, the applicant is going to see this plat. And depending on where the septic and well are, they’re going to adhere to the regulations on the plat.

Mr. Marcom said that the abutters have so many unanswered questions. Mr. Marcom was wondering about the process. You don’t where the house is going up because it depends on the septic system and well. Mr. DiBernardo responded that the test pits are for the septic and that’s ruled by the state. It’s a standard submission. You don’t see that on the plat for lot 5-4 because that lot is more than 5 acres, but it will still be bound by the design on the plat. The process is that you submit the application showing the plans of the subdivision. You submit this showing the well, which must have a radius of 75 feet around it and be away a prescribed distance feet from the septic system. You must supply the test pit results, which  show access to water, ledge, and a perk test. All that goes to the state. Everything is contingent on state approval. Usually a subdivision engineer prepares a lot loading analysis. So a person putting a house on any one of these lots, its placement is contingent upon what’s on the plat? Mr. Marcom asked. The answer was yes.

Mr. Perron said he was hoping for something a little more solid about the restrictions rather than what are in the Planning Board minutes. Mr. Miller agreed that the plat illustrating the swales and raingarden should be part of the motion. 

Mr. Perron said our subdivision land controls talk about stormwater runoff in Section 4 and it says stormwater runoff created by the subdivision needs to be contained on the lot. But once the subdivision is done, there’s no coming back that you can’t have runoff go beyond that lot. But his point was that these swales could be moved because you don’t know where the house will be. My point is because of the things you don’t know yet, how can you be sure all the runoff will be contained on the lot. If they change, these locations change so then where are the teeth in this regulation that runoff must be contained on the lot? 

Mr. Miller said he thought the teeth were in the subdivision regulations regarding the standard minimum lot size and the minimum frontage that has to be met. The applicant has done a lot to try to minimize water problems, he added. The Board has letters about water amounts. It’s everywhere up and down Wentworth Road and it’s a tough situation like it is right now but at least the applicant tried. Mr. Miller cited a letter written by Michael Rau, the road agent and highway director. Mr. Rau wrote in an email, “I have reviewed the site and in my opinion the stormwater runoff should not directly affect any abutter if the water is allowed to continued to flow in its natural state. The property owner should not increase or concentrate the quantity of surface water on to any abutters property.” This letter is part of the record.

Mr. Marcom asked about the permit process to allow for deed restrictions. What has to be in a deed restriction to say a subdivision has to abide for stormwater control, based on the ordinance and right now the ordinance says that runoff must be contained on the property? Mr. Perron asked Mr. Dalessio if he was saying the Board should add that? Dalessio said he thought the Board should add whatever they thought should be in the deed restriction. You could even put things about wells. Mr. Dalessio said he expected the applicants to come to the meeting tonight with a written proposal suggesting deed restrictions and he was disappointed they didn’t come to the Board with something. What you want in the subdivision has to fully comply with our subdivision regulations. The Board should have that in front of them. The deed restrictions should be written out so the Board can look at them and digest whether they wanted to add more ideas and that would give the abutters more security.

Ms. Andros asked if that means if we don’t have it, the Board can’t make a decision.

Mr. DiBernardo said that the version that was read has to be on the Mylar and has to be followed. It must be in the deed. Mr. Dalessio said the Board didn’t get a copy of any of this ahead of time and it would have given them time to decide whether or not the Board wanted to add to it. Mr. Perron said right now we have this design, but depending on where the house is, it may not be practical to say you can have that raingarden there. Mr. Marcom said that wasn’t what he heard. It may not be in that spot but it will be somewhere on the lot.  

If you say it has to conform to what’s printed, then every house has to conform to that print, Mr. Dalessio said. You say according to the plat and I think the applicant has to come back to the Planning Board if its a new location. It must be put on the deed. Is there a deed restriction. You have to go back to the planning board.   

Mr. Miller said that the Board already has them with this design. Not knowing where the house is going to be, it may not be in that spot.

Mr. Dalessio said that all the houses have to meet those deed restrictions. According to this, you have to come back after the new location of the house, get a building permit, look at the deed restrictions and go back to the Planning Board. Mr. Miller said we don’t have the expertise to make that decisions. 

As far as the well, Jason, I don’t have concern about well or septic because that’s decided by the state. Actually, it’s only the septic system that’s approved by the state, it is not the well. But Mr. Marcom pointed out that according to the letters from Cushing and Sons and the Colleys’ letter you are pretty well assured that if you get 2 gallons of water a minute at a depth of 280 feet, you have guaranteed 600 gallons of water. There’s this chart. The Department of Environmental Services deal with that.  

Perron thought that septic and water were fairly well addressed. 

Mr. Perron asked Mr. DiBernardo to reread what he said. “At the time of construction, the houses on this property should submit plans regarding stormwater management according to the suggestions of Right Angle Engineering LLC and recorded in the minutes.’’ 

Mr. Dalessio said that the restrictions should be approved according to the design and not by the Planning Board minutes, and by the date on the plat, March 5, 2021. It’s every specific. You must meet those requirements on the Deed Restriction.

Mr. DiBernardo further tweaked it to say “At the time applicants submit an application for a building permit, they shall have an engineering design that conforms to the plan by Right Angle Engineering LLC for stormwater management and sediment and erosion control practice dated March 5, 2021. Mr. Dalessio said he liked the last one better because it indicates you have to meet those designs. It’s a matter of checks and balances. It’s got to be obvious.

Ms. Colley mentioned that at the meeting Ms. Darrow mentioned at the March meeting that a swale on the Landry property across from their house would help the runoff on Old Keene Road. Mr. Dalessio confirmed what Ms. Colley said and read from the minutes, “Ms. Darrow said that maybe they could do a bioswale, just a basin, that would be inexpensive and help between the two drainage area. It would be relatively ease, she said.” Mrs. Colley requested that this be considered when building begins. Mr. Landry said at this point he didn’t know where the house is going to be but it would “definitely” be something we would consider. 

Mr. Marcom said the Ms. Darrow is a certified civil engineer and soil erosion is her profession. He said he’d been working with engineers for 40 years and it’s been his experience that they ask for more than is required. He believed that with these swales and raingardens in place, the water problems are going to decrease and the neighborhood is going to be better off. Mr. Perron was making a motion to approve the subdivision with the additional restrictions  He then asked the secretary to read back the language Mr. DiBernardo used. The secretary, with Mr. Di Bernardo’s help said  “At the time applicants submit an application for a building permit, they shall have an engineering design that conforms to the plan by Right Angle Engineering LLC for stormwater management and sediment and erosion control practices dated March 5, 2021. And Mr. Miller added that the design for swales and raingardens should be submitted for each lot. 

So Mr. Perron made a motion to approve the subdivision with the additional restrictions. The final version reads “that at the time an applicant submit an application for a building permit, he/she shall have an engineering design that conforms to the plan by Right Angle Engineering LLC for the stormwater management and sediment and erosion control practices defined in the document dated March 5, 2021. Mr. Harrington seconded the motion. Mr. Miller asked Mr. Dalessio if he was okay with the verbiage. He said yes. The motion was voted on and passed 5 yeas and 1 nae.

Mr. Marcom said the reason he voted for it was because he thought an abutter has rights but an applicant also has rights too if he meets zoning requirements for our town. He thought it was a hard and fast fact and we need to recognize the good faith and also the effort here that have convinced me that the abutter will probably be better and not worse off. That’s the reason he voted for it, Mr. Marcom said. 

Mr. DiBernardo said the Mylar needs to be fixed and he’ll get it to the Board to be signed later. 

Dunkin’, Site Plan, Map 12, Lot 56, Commercial District, Main Street, Route 12: Jim Clifford represented Dunkin’ Donuts. Request for a public hearing.

Mr. Clifford said his company operates Dunkin’ Donuts in Jiffy Mart. Since the site is doing well enough to stand on its own, the company wants to move it out of the gas station to its own location. The company NGP Management, headquartered in North Reading, MA, has a sales agreement with the owners of the property, Map 12, Lot 56 to buy the 9-acre parcel of land adjacent to and south of Shaw’s and the Savings Bank of Walpole buildings.

The initial phase is to building a 5,000 square-foot building with 2,000 square feet being used or the Dunkin’ Donuts site and 3,000 square for another retail site that will be for one or two businesses. In the future, the company may be proposing another retail space of up to a 5,000 square-foot building for retail if the initial phase is a success. But if that were to happen, the company would come back to the Planning Board. Dunkin’ went to the state for a curb cut on Route 12 and it is as far away from the entrance from North Meadow Plaza as possible. There will be parking in front of the building and the company is also thing about a curb cut on Upper Walpole Road to allow people from the baseball park access to Dunkin’. That would eliminate for some cars having to go on Route 12 at all.

Phase 2 would be solar array that would take up 51/2 to 6 acres of the parcel of land. According to Ned Reynolds or Revision Energy, spokesman for the solar array, it would provide the power Dunkin’ needed, is low-impact on the area and could probably supply enough energy to provide electricity to 200 homes. The solar piece of the site plan will stand alone and probably be introduced at the May meeting. Since the electricity was more than would be needed at the Dunkin’ building, there was some question on the definition of net-metering and on taxing on solar arrays. The Walpole ordinance does not allow taxing solar project. Mr. Clifford promised landscaping that would spill over onto the solar array. 

He also said the landscaping around the property would make it look nice. The company prides itself on the landscaping of stand-alone Dunkin’  properties. Several people in the audience mentioned certain Dunkin’ properties that they thought were nicely done. Mr. Clifford mentioned one in Newport that was in an old mill that the company refurbished. 

The company has a lease on the property at the Jiffy Mart until the spring of 2023 so that the building on the lot on Route 12 will not probably open until that date. At this time, he was requesting a hearing for next month. Mr. Marcom made a motion to hold a public hearing for Dunkin’ Donuts in May. Mr. Perron seconded the motion. The motion carried.

Mr. Perron made a motion to adjourn. The motion was seconded and approved by the rest of the Board.

Respectfully submitted,

Marilou Blaine

WPB Secretary

Posted: Inside the Town Hall and on the bulletin board outside the Post Office, The Walpolean, www. Walpolenh.us

Copies: WPB, ZBA, Town Offices.

Next meeting Tuesday, May 11, 2021.

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