Zoning Board of Appeals - Jun 10th, 2021
Meeting held via remote participation. Materials were available from https://arlington.novusagenda.com/agendapublic/DisplayAgendaPDF.ashx?MeetingID=1358.
Thorndike Place Comprehensive Permit
(Christian Klein, ZBA Chair) Mr. Klein provides a brief summary of where we are in the process. The applicants submitted new plans on May 23rd, which included six duplexes and reprogramming the multi-family building as senior housing. They submitted updated plans, traffic analysis, and stormwater managements plans to the board on June 8th.
(Stephanie Kiefer, Attorney for the applicant) Ms. Kiefer says the applicant's revised concept includes six duplexes along Dorothy Road with a four-story senior building behind. The unit count for the senior building has been revised down from 126 to 124, plus space devoted to common areas. The earlier plan was to have a combination of independent and assisted living. Now, they've revised this to be independent living with services. Services will include things like activities, on-site health checks, and an optional meal plan.
The south side of the building has a small section that's extends into the 100' AURA (adjacent upland resource area) by 10'. The projection has always been there. In the prior iteration, it was a parking garage beneath a courtyard. In this iteration, it's both the parking garage and building. The Conservation Commission has submitted a letter saying this wasn't objectionable. The duplexes are slightly shorter, but will still act as visual buffers to the main building.
The Conservation Commission asked if we could exclude basements from the two eastern-most duplexes. We've decided against this. The impact to the flood plain would be negligible, and addressed with compensatory flood storage. The basements will be waterproofed all around. They don't anticipate the need for piles in the main building, and will use aggregate piers if necessary.
(Gwen Noyes, Architect) Ms. Noyes wants to emphasize the amount of landscaped area added to the project. Three of the duplex units will be affordable for ownership.
(Scott Vlasek, Architect) Mr. Vlasek shows updated renderings and drawings. He shows the minor architectural changes they've made to the duplexes. The main building's driveway is still on the west. It provides access to the parking garage and to delivery vehicles. From the perspective of someone standing across the street, the duplexes will block the view of the main building.
The garage floor of the main building has been raised three feet, and will be at elevation 6'. They plan to berm up around the north side of the building, to provide a smooth grade at the front entrance.
Roughly 35\% of the finished space will be devoted to common and amenity areas. 15--20\% of common area is typical for apartment buildings.
(Arthur Klipfel) Mr. Klipfel says the current plans show the first and second floor amenity areas as being the same size. That may change slightly in the future as they continue to refine the interior design. For example, the amenity area on one floor may get a little larger, while the one on the other floor gets a little smaller. They haven't determined the final dispositions.
They're still planning to have a 13' by 62' balcony on the ground floor, along the rear of the building. Mr. Klipfel believes the average age of the inhabitants will be 80--90 years old. Building management can control the scheduling of deliveries to between 10am and 3pm, which is outside of peak traffic hours.
(Gwen Noyes) Ms. Noyes lists wellness, security, cleaning, and laundry as examples of services that would be provided. This will not be an assisted living facility. She notes that the former west parking lot is now a landscaped garden area.
(Stephanie Kiefer) Ms. Kiefer says they are planning to include partial basements in the duplexes, for storage space.
(Ambrose Donovan, McPhail Associates) Mr. Donovan's firm does geo-technical engineering. They've done a number of projects in this area and other parts of Arlington, including Arlington 360 and consultation for the Arlington High School. He expects the land to contain fill material, organics, sand, and clay. Groundwater in this area is roughly at elevation 6' and the basements will be at or above the groundwater table. The partial basements in the duplexes will be waterproofed, and will not affect the ground water.
Mr. Donovan believes that the ground water in this area is flat, without a gradient. Think of it as lake, if you will. There is not significant underground flow. The soil has a low permeability, and underground water moves through it very slowly.
He believes the main building can utilize a spread footing foundation system. They may need to use aggregate piers, but not driven piles. Aggregate piers are constructed by drilling 1--2' diameter holes in the soil, and filling them with stone and cement. They're compacted like the gravel base for a sidewalk. These piers would be below spread footings.
(John Hession, BSC) Mr. Hession says the current iteration has less density and move pervious surface than previous iterations. The larger building met stormwater standards, and the smaller building provides more flexibility in meeting them. He notes some additional design elements, like a sidewalk and bike storage area on the north side.
Grading is the first step in stormwater management, to enable drainage to stormwater structures. There are a lot of similarities to the previous plan. The duplex driveways will have trench drains, sized for the duplexes. The previous plans had trench drains along the length of Dorothy Road. The trench drains will convey stormwater to the rear of the homes, to an infiltration area underneath the main driveway. They've increased the total volume of water that the trench drain system can handle. The infiltration area on the west side of the property was moved further away from the abutters. Overflow from the system will discharge to the rear of the main building. Overall, the system works similarly to the previous design.
Raising the main building provided an opportunity to raise the infiltration system, so that its further away from the groundwater. They've also used NOAA14+ precipitation for this iteration of stormwater management design, to better address climate resiliency.
(Scott Thornton) Mr. Thornton prepared a traffic memo that identifies differences in trip generation between the two proposals. The new proposal should generate about one-third less trips, based on ITE and census data. That includes a 29--36\% decrease in peak hour traffic. There will be a total of 10--20 people on staff to provide services.
Delivery will be off-peak hours, using smaller vehicles. They've reached out to the Arlington Council on Aging and discussed their transportation services. They provide trips for a nominal fee. They expect a decrease in overall traffic, relative to the earlier design.
(Christian Klein) Mr. Klein asks if BETA's had an opportunity to review the latest document submissions.
(Marta Nover, BETA (peer-review engineering firm)) Ms. Nover says they've had a chance to review the new documents, but haven't produced written comments yet.
(Aaron Ford, ZBA) Mr. Ford asks how far excavation will extend beyond the perimeter of the building.
(Ambrose Donovan) Mr. Donovan says the garage is at elevation 6' and the land is at elevation 10'. He expects to make 6' cuts for footings, and possibly localized holes for piers. He doesn't believe they'll need to excavate more than 6--7' beyond the perimeter of the foundation. He expects they excavation to use a 1.5:1 layback. So, digging 6' down and 9' out.
(Susan Chapnick) Ms. Chapnick says the Conservation Commission was aware of the intrusion into the AURA. The Conservation Commission agreed to it due to proposed wetlands restoration and improvements. They never discussed excavation. Work in the outer 25' of the AURA is generally acceptable, but the Commission hasn't discussed it as a group. Further intrusion would require more thought.
(Stephanie Kiefer) Ms. Kiefer wants to clarify some of the terminology. Floodplain refers to land that's at risk for flooding, and there is no AURA around a floodplain. AURAs exist around wetlands, either bordering vegetated wetlands or isolated vegetated wetlands.
(John Hession) Mr. Hession says the garage doesn't extend beyond the building footprint. There's the same amount of structure as the last iteration. The emergency vehicle access drive is also in the AURA, and also in the same place as the last iteration. Mr. Hession believes that excavation layback will be completely within the limits of the emergency access drive.
(Aaron Ford) Mr. Ford says he was trying to clarify the effect of construction within the outer 25' of the AURA.
(Susan Chapnick) Ms. Chapnick wants to clarify that the Conservation Commission does not always agree to work being done within the outer 25' of an AURA. Work in the outer 25' is acceptable here, because of other mitigations being performed on site.
(Stephanie Kiefer) Ms. Kiefer understands that these decisions are made on a case by case basis. For example, 19R Park Ave has approximately half of the building in the AURA.
(Christian Klein) Mr. Klein asks how much grading will be done behind the building.
(John Hession) Mr. Hession says there'll be minor grading in that area.
(Christian Klein) Mr. Klein asks what porous asphalt is. (note: I believe he's referring to the emergency access drive.)
(John Hession) Mr. Hession says it's a product that contains aggregate and asphalt, but no sand. The aggregate leaves gaps that water can flow through. He has this on his driveway and says it drains well.
(Pat Hanlon, ZBA) Mr. Hanlon has some questions about trip generation for the six duplexes. The traffic impact assessment estimates 6 person trips during morning peak and 5 during evening peak. He asks if the same ITE figures would be applicable to the houses across the street.
(Scott Thornton, Vanasse) Mr. Thornton says yes.
(Pat Hanlon) Mr. Hanlon asks how the ITE defines "senior".
(Scott Thornton) Mr. Thornton says there are different categories, depending on how the site is used. For this report, he used a category called "Senior Housing", which the ITE defines as 55+.
(Pat Hanlon) Mr. Hanlon asks if peak hour trip generation would depend on age.
(Scott Thornton) Mr. Thornton says the ITE's trip generation manual is not that finely grained. They basically count up lots of developments, take weighted averages, and generate formulas. They don't get into the degree of age specificity that Mr. Hanlon is looking for.
(Pat Hanlon) Mr. Hanlon asks if residents aged 80--90 would be likely to make fewer trips than specified in the ITE manual.
(Scott Thornton) Mr. Thornton believes that's probably true. He thinks that residents older than 55--60 would likely make fewer trips, which would make their traffic impact assessment a conservative one.
(Pat Hanlon) Mr. Hanlon thinks the transit mix appears to be less conservative, because it's based on census data which includes a wider age range. He asks if Mr. Thornton is confident in the 35\% mode split.
(Scott Thornton) Mr. Thornton says the mode split considers Council on Aging transit services more than the red line. The mode split shouldn't be nearly as high as Vox on Two, but it should be akin to census data.
(Pat Hanlon) Mr. Hanlon asks if the building would be independent living with services in perpetuity, or of that use might change over time.
(Gwen Noyes) Ms. Noyes says they were initially interested in an assisted living component, but the market for that has been on the downside. They'd like to do further market studies.
(Pat Hanlon) Mr. Hanlon asks how the a-la carte services will work for the affordable units.
(Gwen Noyes) Ms. Noyes says that some of the services will be baseline -- as part of a package -- and others will be optional. Residents of the affordable units would get the same baseline package, but they'd pay full rate for the optional services. For example, laundry would be at market rate.
(Pat Hanlon) Mr. Hanlon asks what the definition of an affordable ownership unit is.
(Stephanie Kiefer) Ms. Kiefer says it's 80\% AMI, adjusted to household size.
(Bob Engler) Mr. Engler says that 30\% of the 80\% AMI has to cover mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, and any HOA fees. Rented affordable units don't have these fees, but utilities are included in the housing cost. That leaves 70\% of income for other expenses.
(Steve Revilak, ZBA) Mr. Revilak wants to summarize a elements that he found notable in the most recent document submission. The garage floor of the main building has been raised to elevation 6', and the first floor elevation is 16'; the project will provide compensatory flood storage at ratios of 2.2:1 or 2.3:1, depending on elevation; and, NOAA14+ precipitation data was used for stormwater calculations, rather than the Cornell data previously used. He thinks these are all good things.
Mr. Revilak notes the TIA for this iteration projects peak trip reductions of 37--39\%, relative to the previous iteration. He understands the previous iteration used a transportation demand management plan, and the current iteration does not. He asks if that understanding is correct.
(Scott Thornton) Mr. Thornton says that's correct -- the previous iteration relied on a transportation demand management program and the current one does not.
(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak would like to verify that the duplexes have a first floor elevation of 12'.
(?) Yes that's correct.
(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak is happy to hear this. Cambridge's climate change vulnerability assessment projects that in 2070, a 100-year sea level rise/storm surge event could reach elevation 11', and he's glad to see that all of the first floor elevations -- including the duplexes -- will be above that.
Mr. Revilak asks if the duplexes will have finished basements.
(Gwen Noyes) Ms. Noyes says they'll be unfinished.
(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak would like to suggest three conditions for the board to consider, now that he's thinking of them. First, the the first floor elevation of the duplexes be 12' or higher; second, that electric panels and mechanical systems for the duplexes be placed above the first floor elevation; third, that the basements be unfinished when the units are first sold.
Mr. Revilak notes that during previous iteration, we discussed having the apartment building be all-electric. He asks if the applicants still intend to do this.
(Gwen Noyes) Ms. Noyes says they're planning to build a highly energy efficient building, and it will be 100\% electric.
(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak realizes the applicants have modeled the turning radius of the fire departments largest vehicle, and verified that it will be able to navigate the emergency access drive. He asks if they've modeled it pulling into the driveway at the front of the building.
(Scott Thornton) Mr. Thornton says they haven't modeled that yet. He believes the front driveway will accommodate that fire engine, but it will likely have to back out, and exit the property via the emergency drive.
(Christian Klein) Mr. Klein asks Mr. Haverty if Mr. Revilak's suggestions could be included as conditions.
(Paul Haverty) Mr. Haverty thinks the first and third conditions could be incorporated, because they're consistent with the submitted plans. He thinks the second condition is probably a valid local concern.
(Kevin Mills, ZBA) Mr. Mills notes that the stormwater drainage for the duplexes is tied in to main building's system. He asks how that will work in perpetuity, with maintenance, easements, and such.
(Stephanie Kiefer) Ms. Kiefer says that would probably become part of the condo agreements, including the easements.
(John Hession) Mr. Hession says they're not proposing property lines for the condominiums. All six of the buildings would be subject to condominiums agreements, to facilitate maintenance and repair of the drainage system.
(Kevin Mills) Mr. Mills appreciates the changes and the applicant's efforts to address neighborhood concerns.
(Marta Nover, BETA) Ms. Nover says that BETA will provide written comments for the latest submittals, which will include a review of changes proposed for the compensatory flood storage area.
(Bill McGrath, BETA) Mr. McGrath says that BETA needs to verify that the latest stormwater analysis is consistent with the design of the system. They may recommend additional ground water test pits. He suggests the board may want to make sure the fire chief is comfortable with building access.
(Pat Hanlon) Mr. Hanlon believes that elements of this project have come into compliance with local wetlands regulations. It's unclear to him which Conservation Commission waivers are still in play. He'd like to know what's left.
Mr. Hanlon endorses the intent to make the main building 100\% electric and energy efficient. He thinks that's a big step in reaching the town's Net Zero action plan goals. It's a good commitment on behalf of the applicant.
(Susan Chapnick) Ms. Chapnick says the Conservation Commission hasn't reviewed the latest submissions as a group. They rely on BETA's reviews, and generally agree with them. She is concerned about the accuracy of the compensatory flood storage calculations. She'd suggest adding flood vents to the duplexes that are within the flood plain. She appreciates the use of NOAA14+ data for stormwater calculations. Mass DEP considers NOAA14+ as representing the range of extreme weather events that occur now. NOAA14++ considers extreme weather events in the future.
The chair opens the hearing to public comment.
(Matt McKinnon) Mr. McKinnon wants to make it abundantly clear that he agrees with everyone whose been fighting development on this land. There's been a complete and utter lack of stewardship. Our pleas not to build have fallen on deaf ears. There should be no multi-family building, and no businesses in our residential neighborhood.
(John Yurewicz) Mr. Yurewicz opposes any and all development on this property. We've fought development here for years, and we've won every time. No one wants it. Whatever happened to opposition? It's an invasion. We'll be insect borne. There will be an invasion of construction vehicles. He doesn't understand why the ZBA is going along with this, and wishes the board would shoot it down.
(Heather Keith-Lucas) Ms. Keith-Lucas says it's not appropriate to build on this lot. The ZBA uses documentation to assist them in making decisions, and she's concerned that the ZBA will not have accurate information. She wants the applicants to resubmit all of their documents, and show side by side comparisons of what's changed.
Ms. Keith-Lucas asks if the affordable and market rate units will be constructed using the same materials.
(Stephanie Kiefer) Ms. Kiefer says that 40B regulations require the buildings to be indistinguishable on the exterior.
(Heather Keith-Lucas) Ms. Keith-Lucas is concerned the the applicants will use inferior structural materials and wiring when constructing the affordable units.
(note: My internet connection went down at this point in the hearing. The remainder of these notes come from listening to a recording of the meeting.)
(Stephanie Kiefer) Ms. Kiefer says the quality of workmanship has to be the same. 40B allows minor interior differences, like finishes. However, they're planning to make all of the units the same.
(Paul Haverty) Mr. Haverty says the subsidizing agency has oversight over any differences between affordable and market-rate units. All must meet building codes.
(Heather Keith Lucas) Ms. Keith-Lucas asks how many of the affordable duplexes will be in the flood plan.
(Stephanie Kiefer) Ms. Kiefer explains that 25\% of the duplexes will be affordable, and the affordable duplex condominiums will be interspersed with the market-rate ones. One of the affordable ones will likely be in the flood plain.
(John Hession) Mr. Hession says that a portion of that area is currently in the flood plain. Part of their impact will be filling in the area where the duplexes will go, and providing compensatory flood storage elsewhere on the site. Once filled and graded, the duplexes will be above the flood elevation.
(Nicolas Ide) Mr. Ide acknowledges the changes made to the plans, in response to abutter concerns. But he thinks this process is just lather, rinse, repeat. We've talked about flood plains and traffic studies, and there are always a lot of assumptions. Reality is different. How will trailers with prefab modules make it into the site. The town has shot down development on this site in the past, but now it's 40B and that's different. It feels like we're pushing the envelope of what's allowable, so the developers can make a profit. He doesn't see the project maximizing affordability or amenability. He's concerned about whether the building will be sustainable. He thinks the process is troubling. If not for 40B, it would be just townhomes. But we're pushing the envelope for profitability and not affordability.
(Christian Klein) Mr. Klein asks if the applicants have provided turning diagrams for the flatbeds that will deliver the modulars.
(Scott Thornton) Mr. Thornton says they have.
(Christian Klein) Mr. Klein says that one of the things the board is working on is long-term enforcement of conditions.
(Paul Haverty) Mr. Haverty says the board is limited to conditions that boards apply during normal hearing processes. The applicants have made an offer to clean up the site; we'll likely have conditions and a memorandum of understanding for long term cleanup. This assumes some cooperation, and the applicants not appealing to the HAC.
(Don Seltzer) Mr. Seltzer has two comments. First, parking. During the last hearing, the applicants justified parking reductions via part of the facility being devoted to assisted living. Will there be enough parking now that it's all independent living? He asks the applicants to consider more handicapped spaces. Second, our town bylaws require a bond to be posted for five years. He asks if the applicants will seek a waiver for the bonding requirement.
(Scott Thornton) Mr. Thornton says there are 124 units and 86 parking spaces, which is a ratio of about 0.6. There will probably be a need for a system that determines how spaces are leased. He expects some residents not to have cars.
(Arthur Klipfel) Mr. Klipfel says they may charge a separate fee for parking spaces.
(Gwen Noyes) Ms. Noyes notes that group transportation will be one of the services provided.
(Christian Klein) Mr. Klein isn't sure if the ADA/MAAB have different handicapped parking requirements for different age groups. He suggests the applicants check with their consultant.
(Scott Thornton) Mr. Thornton says there could be as many as 20 employees, whose shifts are spread out throughput the day. He agrees that some spaces need to be dedicated to staff.
(Christian Klein) Mr. Klein asks if different spaces would be allocated to staff and guests.
(Scott Thornton) Mr. Thornton says that guests would park in the surface parking spaces. Residents and staff would park in the garage.
(Arthur Klipfel) Mr. Klipfel points out what the west area of the property is currently designated as garden/open space. In the prior iteration, it was a surface parking lot. There is the option of turning it back into surface parking at some point in the future, if the number of parking spaces turns out to be insufficient.
(Pat Hanlon) Mr. Hanlon things that four handicapped parking spaces will not be enough, and he encourages the applicants to look at that. He hadn't heard about the jitney (i.e., group transit) service before. He encourages the applicant to provide more information about this, so the board can look at it in terms of the overall solution.
(Stephanie Kiefer) Ms. Kiefer isn't familiar with the bonding requirements that Mr. Seltzer mentioned. She says they aren't seeking a waiver from bonding requirements for work on public ways.
(Susan Chapnick) Ms. Chapnick says there is a bonding requirement in the local bylaws, but she's not very familiar with it. She asks if BETA is.
(Martha Nover, BETA) Ms. Nover says that another 40B applicant requested a waiver for that bonding requirement, but this applicant has not.
(Susan Chapnick) Ms. Chapnick says the Conservation Commission would be hesitant to grant waivers from bonding requirements.
(Don Seltzer) Mr. Seltzer believes the bonding requirement is important, in case there are flooding issues.
(Stephanie Kiefer) Ms. Kiefer believes they did request a waiver from that bonding requirement. Her team will provide an updated waiver list in the near future. She says that bonding requirements are okay, as long as they're also applied to non-40B projects.
(Ambrose Donovan) Mr. Donovan says the buildings are designed to be waterproof, even if the ground water level changes.
(Steve Moore) Mr. Moore applauds the applicants for including McPhail on their team; he thinks they do very good work. He asks whether the foundation can be changed, if different conditions are discovered after excavation begins.
(Ambrose Donovan) Mr. Donovan anticipates finding fill, organic material, sand, and clay. If, for example, one layer extends down into the bearing stratum, the spread footings will stay the same, but the supporting piers will be deeper.
(Steve Moore) Mr. Moore asks about unexpected findings with respect to the water table.
(Ambrose Donovan) Mr. Donovan says the building is designed to be waterproof, even if the groundwater level changes. The building is above the water table, so it can't raise it. He also notes that the area of the water table is very large, and by comparison, the area of the building is very small.
(Steve Moore) Mr. Moore has a question about permeable pavement. He asks if it allows water to penetrate through, including salt.
(John Hession) Mr. Hession says that's correct. He says they'd likely disallow use of sand on porous pavement.
(Steve Moore) Mr. Moore asks how future use changes would be handled.
(Paul Haverty) Mr. Haverty explains how modifications are handled. First the board needs to determine if the modification is substantial. If yes, the board has to conduct a public hearing. In such a case, there's likely to be a discussion as to whether denial of the modification would make the project uneconomic.
(Steve Moore) Mr. Moore asks: what about use changes after the building has been built?
(Christian Klein) Mr. Klein says the ZBA would still have to approve changes that occur afterwards.
(Steve Moore) Mr. Moore notes that 40B consolidates all board hearings into a comprehensive permit hearing. He asks if the Select Board has a role after the ZBA makes their decision.
(Paul Haverty) Mr. Haverty says that the roles of all individual boards are subsumed by the ZBA.
(Steve Moore) Mr. Moore asks about the process of dealing with the parcel and cleanup.
(Paul Haverty) Mr. Haverty expects there to be a memorandum of understanding that is tied to the 40B process, but not part of that process.
(Patricia Brown) Ms. Brown asks if a partial basement is the same as a crawl space.
(Gwen Noyes) Ms. Noyes responds that a partial basement is a half-basement at full height.
(Patricia Brown) Ms. Brown thinks this is starting to sound like an age-restricted building. She asks what services will be provided.
(Gwen Noyes) Ms. Noyes provides a list of planned optional services. These include staff escorts and transportation, housekeeping, guest meals, and laundry service. There will be a seven day a week security concierge, dry cleaning, and basic errand running. Such services are typical for this kind of project. There will also be common and community areas, and probably an exercise room.
(Patricia Brown) Ms. Brown says that none of this is what she'd consider assisted senior housing. It seems more like age-restricted housing.
(Gwen Noyes) Ms. Noyes says it's called independent living with services. The basic services will include one meal per day, and all units will have their own kitchens. They're still working on specifics of the services plan.
(Patricia Brown) Ms. Brown asks if this will be more luxury/high-end living, or more middle class.
(Gwen Noyes) Ms. Noyes says it won't be high-end, but it will be comfortable.
(Patricia Brown) Ms. Brown asks if Arlington residents will get preference for the affordable units.
(Paul Haverty) Mr. Haverty says the town can have up to a 70\% local preference restriction, subject to approval by the subsidizing agency. The subsidizing agency will require the town to demonstrate the need for a local preference restriction.
(Pat Hanlon) Mr. Hanlon believes that local preferences are a problem for a town that is only about 3\% black. He encourage folks not to assume that the board would ask for such a restriction.
(Paul Haverty) Mr. Haverty says that Mr. Hanlon's concerns are very legitimate.
(Patricia Brown) Ms. Brown asks if the owner-occupied affordable units will be deed restricted.
(Paul Haverty) Mr. Haverty says they'll be deed-restricted in perpetuity.
(GM Hakim) Mr. Hakim asks if the applicants would consider altering the footprint of the building, so that it doesn't intrude on the AURA.
(Stephanie Kiefer) Ms. Kiefer notes that there is a small arc that intrudes on the AURA by 15'. It's a very small portion of the overall AURA size, and it's been in the plans since November. There are a number of local project with larger building footprints in AURAs and the local bylaw give flexibility here.
(GM Hakim) Mr. Hakim thinks that if the 15' arc is small and insignificant, then it could just be removed from the building. He asks why the building was laid out in that way.
(John Hession) Mr. Hession says the building wing was designed with a center corridor and apartments on each side; a double-loaded wing. Curving the building around the AURA would require chopping out units, make construction less efficient, and require a redesign of the garage.
(Scott Vlasek) Mr. Vlasek says that alteration would make the floor plan less efficient; they'd likely have to move the main building closer to Dorothy Road. They felt it was more important to keep the building further away from the road.
(GM Hakim) Mr. Hakim asks if carving a few units out of the back would make the project unprofitable.
(Arthur Klipfel) Mr. Klipfel says it wouldn't be viable. Instead, they'd remove the duplexes, and move the building closer to Dorothy Road.
(Gwen Noyes) Ms. Noyes says they've tried hard to recognize the 100' AURA. The incursion is small; only about 250 square feet. They're mitigating this by performing wetland restoration in other parts of the property.
(Shawna Gibson) As a nurse practitioner, Ms. Gibson spends much of her week going in and out of independent living facilities. Most people move in only when they're becoming frail, usually at age 75 or older. Or, if they have a medical condition. It's possible for the population to be frail. As these residents age, they often need more services. Some will require three meals per day, and most don't use their kitchens. Independent living with services is between independent living and assisted living. People often require more services over time. This can result in a steady flow of traffic to and from the building, though not necessarily heavy traffic. There may be frequent trips from emergency vehicles, and emergency vehicles will come through the neighborhood.
(Nicolas Ide) Mr. Ide asks where he can find the document with the delivery truck turning radius.
(Scott Thornton) Offhand, Mr. Thornton isn't sure if those diagrams were provided as a standalone document, or in response comments.
There's a brief discussion about the easiest way to send Mr. Ide a copy of turning plan.
(Pat Hanlon) Mr. Hanlon asks if someone could address Mr. Ide's earlier question about basement infiltration.
(Ambrose Donovan) Mr. Donovan says that basement infiltration generally comes from a combination of rainwater, the type of drainage material used under the slab, and drainage provisions around the building. The most common form is rainwater that drains right next to the house. Water that comes in after a storm is most likely rainwater, rather than groundwater. After a rainstorm, it can take up to a week for the rainwater to reach the water table. These buildings are designed to be above the water table, and waterproof.
(John Hession) Mr. Hession says Mr. Donovan gave a good answer. Anecdotally, his basement slab is just above the water table. He had an infiltration problem that was ultimately due to a downspout issue.
(Nicolas Ide) Mr. Ide says there is street flooding after a heavy storm.
(Heather Keith-Lucas) Ms. Keith-Lucas would like to address maintenance and resources. A lot of resources have been devoted to the homeless people living on the property. She wants the applicants to be aware of a recent alleged assault on a police officer. There are ongoing safety concerns. She implores the applicant to engage in good faith about the safety of the neighborhood.
(Dino Ginollio) Mr. Ginollio has a comment about the water table and sump pumps. His basement is 4' below Dorothy Road. His sump pump can continue to work for several days after a rainstorm.
There are no further comments from the public.
(Christian Klein) Mr. Klein thinks that one of the critical questions for the board is to clarify the current project, after all of the iterations we've been through. He'd like an updated plan that could be linked to the order of conditions.
He's sent copies of the project documents to the Fire Department and Health and Human Services for review.
There's an ongoing effort between the town, the board, and the applicant regarding the disposition of the lowland areas. This will also be tied to the order of conditions. The board will likely have to scrub the earlier draft conditions and start over. He asks members of the board what questions they have.
(Pat Hanlon) Mr. Hanlon believes we need to slow down a bit. We're close. There's a general outline before the board, but BETA hasn't had the opportunity to provide advice on the latest stormwater and traffic reports. When getting to the decision, he'd thinks it's important to understand what the applicant agrees and disagrees with. The decision may be appealed, but there needs to be enough of a conversation, and other town agencies will have to be involved.
(Roger Dupont) Mr. Dupont thinks the applicants have put a good deal of effort into trying to respond to the neighbors and to the town. He's comfortable with the engineering concerns, but he'd like to understand more about what's being proposed for independent living with services. For example, how the population can change over time. He'd like to see greater detail, specificity, and commitment to a plan. Including the number of employees, and how the applicants will address residents that need more assistance over time. He'd like the applicants to set expectation for how services will work, and who will be coming and going. He'd also like more detail on the number of emergency trips to the site. He'd also like to know how the board will assess this information. For example, should the board have a separate peer-reviewer for operation of the assisted living facility.
(Arthur Klipfel) Mr. Klipfel says the consultant he's been working with is very knowledgeable. He'd like to bring him in, to speak about deliveries, services, and so on. His company manages several facilities in the area.
(Pat Hanlon) Based on Ms. Gibson's comments, Mr. Hanlon understands that the need for services may change over time. He'd like to understand the position of affordable housing tenants, whose services might cost more than their rent. The ones who don't get much aid might be the ones occupying the affordable units.
(Christian Klein) Mr. Klein asks what kind of time-frame makes sense to fully vet these questions. He'd propose to ask for a continuance, and then discuss the time-frame for fully vetting the proposal.
(Pat Hanlon) If the consultant could come before the board, Mr. Hanlon suggests limiting the subject matter of the hearing to senior living and time schedule.
(Arthur Klipfel) Mr. Klipfel will talk to the consultant about coming before the board.
There's discussion about dates and when to schedule the continuation. The board is leaning towards continuing until 6:30pm on June 29th. They'll hear from the applicant, then go into scheduled hearings at 7:30.
(Paul Haverty) Mr. Haverty notes that the board's ability to conduct remote hearings will expire on June 15th, unless extended by the legislature.
(Christian Klein) Mr. Klein asks how far the public hearing period should be extended.
(Stephanie Kiefer) Ms. Kiefer asks Mr. Hanlon what he'd like to see in terms of a restated application.
(Pat Hanlon) Mr. Hanlon says he's looking for something that clarifies what the project is.
(Stephanie Kiefer) Ms. Kiefer says her team can provide that, along with more information about independent living with services.
BETA also needs time to provide comments, and the board needs time to wrap up loose ends.
Ms. Kiefer thinks it makes sense to come back on June 29th to flush out senior living. She'd like to know BETA's schedule for providing comments, so they can provide responses to them, along with what's been said tonight. She proposes extending the public hearing until July 13th.
(Arthur Klipfel) Mr. Klipfel says he's be able to provide the consultant's name, organization, and past projects in the next couple of days.
(Pat Hanlon) Mr. Hanlon suggests closing the public hearing on July 16th, since July 13th is a Tuesday.
- 6/15. 1165R a 7:30pm
- 6/29. Thorndike Place at 6:30. 10 Sunnyside and 55 Sutherland at 7:30.
- 7/2. Close of public hearing for 1165R Mass Ave.
- 7/16. Close of public hearing for Thorndike Place.