Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Decision Soon to Be Made

Since January, the Planning Board has been dealing with the problem of a large, visually obtrusive building on Green Street which was built in the wrong place and is 10 percent larger than the building that they originally approved.

On the advice of assistant city attorney Andrew Howard, the Planning Board has been reviewing the the "amended" site plan to see if, had that plan been presented originally, it would have been approved.

On April 8, the Planning Board held a public hearing on the revised plan. The hearing lasted for eight minutes; only city judge John Connor, who owns the adjacent property at 76 Green Street, spoke at the hearing. He complained that the new building overshadowed his early building--one of the earliest on Green Street. He voiced concern about noise, which he said was deafening when the building was being constructed, expressed his suspicion that "some kind of heavy industrial activity" would be going on 35 feet from his office, and requested that noise studies be done. He also wanted parking studies to be done, because people were now parking rental cars in his driveway and his parking lot. Connor alleged "they knew they were putting the building in the wrong location" and stated that he feared the building will render his property worthless.

In the Planning Board meeting that followed the public hearing, the discussion focused on storm water runoff. The applicant maintained that the site was "designed to have minimal impact on all neighbors," but Planning Board member Claudia DeStefano wanted to understand exactly where the rainwater would go when it left the property, Cleveland Samuels wanted to know if the applicant was willing to plant some bushes or pine trees to absorb the water, and Priscilla Moore objected to pine trees based on her own experience with needles washing into her backyard from a neighbor's pine trees. 

In the end, DeStefano asked that the board do a field trip to the site, and such a visit was scheduled for Thursday, April 9, at 3 p.m. It seems the field trip happened as planned, and the Planning Board is now ready to render a decision. They will vote on granting site plan approval at a special meeting to take place at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21, at City Hall.

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