Board of Selectmen
September 22, 2004
Present: Selectmen Linda Burt, Chairman, Kenelm Collins, Peter Whitlock, and Joyce Brookshire. Selectman Sandblom and Town Administrator Vanderhoef were excused. Town Planner Terry Whalen was also present.
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Burt at 2:30 p.m.
Update on New Boston Housing Proposal - Terry Whalen reported that New Boston has responded to our recent correspondence asking for further information on the various issues and questions raised at our previous meeting.
New Boston has included a footpath with a 12 foot wide pedestrian easement between Harvest Road and the proposed road that is part of the development in their revised proposal.
They are able to accommodate the request to change the mix to five two-bedroom and five three-bedroom affordable units and one two bedroom and seven three-bedroom market rates units. Affordable units are now dispersed throughout the plan.
The third item of concern to the Selectmen was their desire to evaluate the feasibility of utilizing alternative waste water treatment systems for the project. New Boston framed out different waste water proposals. One was to install on-site Title V only. Selectman Collins noted Title V is the State standard and wondered why we should install a system which would incur $1,200 plus in maintenance expense. Selectman Whitlock commented that State standards have already caused problems, although the chance of problems developing with 18 units is not that big. Mr. Collins suggested that alternative systems have no proof behind them.
Selectman Brookshire pointed out that George Heufelder is studying alternative systems at Otis.
A second option was to install Title V with post nitrate treatment. These systems require yearly maintenance at an annual cost of more than $1,200 per unit. If we were to go with this option we would have to give up one affordable housing unit.
Selectman Collins expressed his concern that because of time constraints it would be better to move forward with the proposal as it stands.
Town Planner Whalen noted that we need to think about the burden $1,200 to $1,800 annual maintenance expenses for a post treatment system would put on those who are purchasing the affordable units. Added expenses could be a “deal breaker” for some. It was also noted that this project is not located in an environmentally sensitive area. At this time nothing requires anything beyond Title V.
Minutes -2- September 22, 2004
Chairman Burt said that she doesn’t think losing one unit of affordable housing is such a problem. Selectman Whitlock restated Mr. Collins’ concern about time pressures.
Selectman Brookshire noted that the letter was not the kind of report she would have liked to have received. She said that a “value system” wasn’t factored into the original design.
Mr. Whalen pointed out that the Roach property proposal calls for 50% of the units to be affordable whereas the McShane project plans for only 25% affordable.
Selectman Brookshire said it is important that for the future something be put into place to mandate annual inspections and regular maintenance of systems. Selectman Whitlock commented that we need conservation preservation zoning by-laws.
Selectman Collins suggested that the Board let this project go as it is. Messrs. Whitlock and Collins expressed the need to ask McShane to look at the big picture as they look at plans for the Bracket Road site.
It was noted that the third option of an off-site cluster system was decided against because of the extremely prohibitive costs and their impact on the feasibility of the proposal itself.
Consensus developed among the Selectmen that Title V was the way to go for this project at this time. We would lose an affordable house if we went with post nitrate treatment. Title V meets all the state requirements and local bylaws. There is no requirement for any developer to upgrade systems beyond Title V. Going with the post nitrate treatment system could be creating a long term burden for those who purchase the affordable units.
At the same time, the Selectmen stressed the need to put in place by-laws which will require annual inspections and pumping as required. Something needs to be done to ensure people pump their systems. It was suggested that development of a by-law would be a collaborative effort among the Board of Selectmen and several committees.
Selectman Collins moved, Joyce Brookshire seconded, to tell New Boston Housing to follow their proposed schedule and get the project started with regular Title V systems. Approved 4 - 0
Selectman Collins commented that he is pleased with the proposal, the layout is great, and it’s a nicely done operation. People will be proud to own these houses.
Terry Whalen noted there are several steps that must happen before work on the project can go forward. Mr. Whalen will find examples and models for inspection and maintenance by-laws.
Selectman Collins moved, Joyce Brookshire seconded, to adjourn at 3:20 p.m. and go into Executive Session to discuss personnel matters and not to return to Regular Session. Voted: Collins, yes; Whitlock, yes; Brookshire, yes; and Burt, yes.