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Site Plan Review in Association with of a Modification to the Special Permit A2


Applicant:         Black Rock Residential LLC
                          c/o Northland Residential LLC
                          20 Mall Road
                          Burlington, MA  01803
Premises:        The Residences at Black Rock – Phase 4
                         Off Ward Street

Date:                December 2, 2013

Summary of Proceedings
This matter came before the Planning Board on the application of Black Rock Residential LLC for Site Plan Review in association of a Modification to the Special Permit A2 under §I-G and §I-I.

The Planning Board heard the application at a duly noticed hearing on November 25, 2013 at 7:00 PM and subsequently on December 2, 2013 at 7:00 PM in the Hingham Town Hall at 210 Central Street.  Members present on November 25, 2013 were: William Ramsey, Chairman; Gary Tondorf-Dick, Clerk; Sarah Corey; Judy Sneath and Walter Sullivan Jr. and members present on December 2, 2013 were: William Ramsey, Chairman; Sarah Corey; Judy Sneath and Walter Sullivan Jr.

The application before the Board was for a Site Plan Modification in association with a Special Permit A2 for Phase 4 of the Black Rock Residential Community.  This project was approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) before binding site plan review, and the initial developer went so far as to have the site plan reviewed by John Chessia and the Conservation Commission in 2007.  This plan was approved by the Conservation Commission who paid particular attention to the stormwater and sewage disposal system design during their review.  The next step was for the applicant to bring the site plan back to the ZBA for approval, however, the project fell into foreclosure before that happened.  Northland Residential LLC purchased the property and has been developing in accordance with the 2007 site plan but it came to staff's attention that the final approval of the site plan never occurred.  This is further complicated by the fact that the Planning Board now handles site plan review as opposed to the ZBA, so the Planning Board must act on the site plan before the ZBA can act on the Special Permit A2.  In addition, this project was originally approved under the Residential Cluster Development By-Law, which was replaced in its entirety by the Flexible Development By-Law in April 2001.

Project Description and Findings
In October 2000, the Zoning Board granted a Special Permit to Hingham Resources, LLC to construct a Residential Cluster Development consisting of 93 dwelling units and an 18-hole golf course.  Section IV-D of the Zoning By-Law provided property owners with the option of constructing Cluster Developments, which could consist of single family and multifamily dwellings with reduced lot area and frontage requirements.  Hingham Resources, LLC, at the time of initial application, sought approval to construct predominately two and three-family structures with several single family structures included in the mix.  The ZBA found that:

The cluster concept is a far superior plan to development for this site than other plans such as single-family homes, as the topography and wetlands considerations support the development of residences in clusters rather than spread out over the site.  The plan calls for hundreds of acres of open space.  The development will provide residential units of a type generally considered to have a lower impact on town resources than single-family homes.  The townhouse units will provide a needed housing alternative to current and prospective residents of Hingham.

The development ownership changed from Hingham Resources to Black Rock Development in 2003.  Black Rock Development subsequently modified the approved plans.  A significant change included a shift from primarily two and three unit buildings to single family homes.  Initially, the developer created the appearance of single family home construction by attaching multiple units with underground frost walls.  The Board decided during a regular meeting in July 2003 that the original permit left room for modification, as neither site design nor architectural design was complete at that time.  Members decided that the frost walls were no longer necessary and waived the required 35' separation between buildings to no less than 10'. Finally, the Board required that the developer return to present final plans for each phase of construction.

Black Rock Development submitted minor modification requests for roadway and house layout plans within Phases 2 and 3; however, Black Rock Development apparently went bankrupt sometime after beginning construction on Phase 4, but before returning to the Board for approval of Phase 4 plans.  Black Rock Residential, LLC is the present owner and has operated since acquisition in December 2009 under the assumption that all plans had been approved by the relevant authorities.  In fact, Black Rock Development had pursued an amended Order of Conditions from the Conservation Commission as late as 2007, but the last approved plans in the ZBA records dates from 2005.  Black Rock Residential has built out most of Phase 4 in accordance with the plans approved by the Conservation Commission, and in a manner consistent with the plans approved by the Board for Phases 2 and 3.  Now that it is aware that Phase 4 was not previously approved by the Board, Black Rock Residential is requesting a minor modification to correct the oversight, though there are only eight units left to be constructed within the development.

Board members reviewed the project in accordance with the Site Plan Criteria contained in Section I-I (6) as follows:

a.    protection of abutting properties against detrimental uses by provision for surface water drainage, fire hydrant locations, sound and site buffers, and preservation of views, light and air, and protection of abutting properties from negative impacts from artificial outdoor site lighting;

Lighting shall be dark sky compliant and installed at intervals as shown on the proposed Lighting Photometric Plan.

b.    convenience and safety of vehicular and pedestrian movement within the site and on adjacent streets; the location of driveway openings in relation to traffic or to adjacent streets, taking account of grades, sight distances and distances between such driveway entrances, exits and the nearest existing street or highway intersections; sufficiency of access for service, utility and emergency vehicles;

Roadway as shown on plan.
c.    adequacy of the arrangement of parking, loading spaces and traffic patterns in relation to the proposed uses of the premises; compliance with the off-street parking requirements of this By-Law;
Parking as shown on plan.
d.    adequacy of open space and setbacks, including adequacy of landscaping of such areas;

As shown on revised plan.
e.    adequacy of the methods of disposal of refuse and other wastes resulting from the uses permitted on the site;
As shown on plan.  There are no dumpsters on the plan.  The development has curbside trash collection.
f.    prevention or mitigation of adverse impacts on the Town's resources, including, without limitation, water supply, wastewater facilities, energy and public works and public safety resources;
No Change

g. assurance of positive stormwater drainage and snow-melt run-off from buildings, driveways and from all parking and loading areas on the site, and prevention of erosion, sedimentation and stormwater pollution and management problems through site design and erosion controls in accordance with the most current versions of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection's Stormwater Management Policy and Standards, and Massachusetts Erosion and Sediment Control Guidelines.
Applicant resolves drainage issue created from roof run-off near the end of Raynor Drive without compromising open space usability.

h.     protection of natural and historic features including minimizing: the volume of cut and fill, the number of removed trees of 6 inches caliper or larger, the removal of stone walls, and the obstruction of scenic views from publicly accessible locations;
Not Applicable

i.    minimizing unreasonable departure from the character and scale of buildings in the vicinity or as previously existing on or approved for the site.

No Change

It was moved, seconded and SO VOTED to grant Site Plan Approval for the application as shown on plans entitled ”BLACK ROCK RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITY PHASE FOUR SITE PLAN HINGHAM, MASSACHUSETTS,” dated October 25, 2013 for Black Rock Residential, LLC, prepared by Hoyt Land Survey and Hardy Engineering and plan drawing entitled “PROPOSED LIGHTING  PHOTOMETRIC PLAN,” dated November 20, 2013, prepared by Vincent A. Dilorio, Inc., Norwood, MA and plan drawing entitled “PHASE FOUR SITE PLAN OPEN SPACE PLAN,” dated November 27, 2013, prepared by Ryan Associates Landscape Architecture and Planning, subject to the following conditions:

1.    Lighting shall be dark sky compliant and installed at intervals as shown on the proposed Lighting Photometric Plan.

2.    Applicant resolves drainage issue created from roof run-off near the end of     Raynor Drive without compromising open space usability.

William Ramsey
Chairman, Hingham Planning Board