By Penny Williams 10-7-16
The Raymond Planning Board held a nonbinding Design Review of a proposed development located at 41 Chester Road (Route 102) that calls for 172 multi-family dwellings on the 86.4 acre site.
Developer Keith Martel said the concept presented took into account the concerns raised by abutters and town officials at previous Planning Board discussions of the project.
The conceptual design calls for 43 four-plex buildings, each with four two-bedroom townhouse-style condominium units. Each unit has two floors, with the garage on the bottom floor.
This is a condo development, not a rental development.
The concept design in question shows that the entrance road has been moved, eliminating four units. There was a discussion about whether the entrance connector would be gated, and Martel said that initially the Fire Chief favored this concept but it was now being considered as a deeded access.
Martel told the Planning Board at its Sept. 1 meeting that the newest design has eliminated several of the proposed roundabouts within the development, leaving four, all of which have adequate fire equipment access and more open space.
Martel said the road within the proposed development was intentionally designed in a way that did not meet Town standards. This was done so the speed could be set at 20 miles per hour. He said maintenance of the road would be through a Homeowners Association, which would contract with an outside management company to deal with issues such as plowing and maintenance.
Density for the acreage would allow 560 bedrooms, but the 172 units, each with two bedrooms, would have a total of 344 bedrooms.
Martel noted that the open space within the parcel lends itself to developing walking trails. One area could be considered for commercial development.
The project expects to be able to tap into municipal water, betting on the installation and coming on line of Town Well 4, which is slated for 2017. The expectation is that when Well 4 comes on line, there would be adequate capacity to service this development.
Visitor parking was discussed. The proposed design has three parking spaces per unit, with one inside the single garage and room for two cars in the driveway. The plan did not have specific numbers of visitor parking spaces but it was pointed out that several locations were identified where four or more additional parking spaces could be located near the multi-family units.
Vernal pools were identified and the developers explained they have planned appropriate buffers and a wildlife corridor has been created, with attention paid to comply with local, state and federal requirements for vernal pools and wildlife.
The septic systems have not been finalized, the Planning Board was told. The intention is to create a separate septic system for the development, which would be kept 75 feet from any wetlands. A separate company would be created to handle the septic system.
Board member Bernie Peer asked about the target population and was told there is no age restriction, but younger families would probably be interested.
Peer also questioned the direction of the proposed wildlife corridor, suggesting the reverse of what is proposed.
Chair Carolyn Matthews asked if the developers intend to keep and use the farmhouse on the property. She was told there is some thought about using it as a mail station or meeting place.
The abutters attending the meeting raised numerous concerns. Kathy McDonald had multiple pages of questions and concerns that she gave the board but focused on the proposed road that would cross the wetlands, with her main concern the connection to the new water line. She said the project would greatly increase demand and put pressure on the municipal water supply.
She also raised the concern of pollution from construction and blasting on existing wells in the area, as well as increasing fire and safety issues. She said the impact of the starter homes on the schools would be huge and would impact taxes, and asked that a Community Impact Study be done.
Her husband, Bob McDonald, said the traffic at the Park Place and Route 102 intersection near the parcel at rush hour is already busy and sight lines are poor. He asked that a traffic study be done relative to the development, and said the proposed project is too much density for the lot.
Vicki McLaughlin said the three culverts on her property are already failing and she is concerned about fire access and the fire lane off Genko Way. She is also concerned about the wetland and asked for reports and permits relative to the wetlands and the project impact on the wetlands.
Paul Fawcett of 40 Chester Road was concerned about traffic and safety, and board member Jonathan Wood said a traffic study would have to be done by the developers.
Another abutter raised the issue of the impact from blasting on existing homes, and another again cited the impact of children from so many homes on the town's schools. Several abutters said the project would have a negative impact on the town mentality and Matthews said, "We hear you." Others also reiterated water quality, blasting and traffic and safety concerns and the impact on the schools.
Director of Community Development and Planning Ernie Creveling said, "No one will get 100 percent of what they want."
In response to one man's comment that the Master Plan does not support this development, Creveling pointed out the Master Plan is advisory only. However, the concerns about traffic, the fire access road, and the internal road being public or private must all be considered by the Planning Board, he said.
The board reviewed the main issues - roads, water, wetlands crossing, intersection safety, whether proposed internal roadways are adequate for fire and safety equipment to enter and turn around, whether they are private or public, the proposed community septic system, management of roads, and vernal pools and wildlife.
Given the responses from the developers, the concept design was deemed complete and after a discussion of the issues and the responses, the board decided to approve the developer’s moving forward with a formal application.
Creveling said there are no impact fees except as relate to the school district. He also said that there is no way to stop a development as long as it meets town regulations, has an approved site plan and meets all zoning requirements. He indicated that a traffic study to ensure traffic safety would be required, and engineering would have to be done to determine the water quality plan. Wetland impacts, permits and police and fire access would all have to be approved as well.
Creveling added that if the developer meets all regulations at all levels, local and state septic design requirements and the vernal pool regulation at the state and Federal level, the project could move forward and be approved.
Despite repeated attempts, no one responded for comment from Sterling Homes LLC and Long Beach Development Associates, LLC, both of Manchester, the developers. Sterling Homes previously built the Village at Stone Creek on Prescott Road in Raymond. Other developments are in Auburn, Epping and Chester.