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NOTICE OF DECISION
SCENIC ROADS HEARING
Certified Mail #7014 2120 0003 3809 9775
Applicant: The Trustees of Reservations
572 Essex Street
Beverly, MA 01915
Project Site: World’s End Reservation
0 Off Martins Lane
Hingham, MA 02043
Deed Reference: Certificate of Title No. 41485 and 48822 issued by the Plymouth County Registry District of the Land Court
Plan References: “Site Plan Set, World’s End”, prepared for The Trustees of Reservations, prepared by Cavanaro Consulting, 687 Main Street, Norwell, MA, dated 9/21/16, revised to 1/4/17, 3 sheets.
Pursuant to M.G.L Chapter 40, Section 15C, the Planning Board held a hearing under the Scenic Roads Act relative to the proposal of The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR) to relocate one of two stone pillars located at the entrance to World’s End Reservation from Martin’s Lane. The hearing was duly noticed and opened Monday, November 14, 2017 at a regular meeting of the Planning Board with Judith Sneath, Gary Tondorf-Dick, William Ramsey and Sarah Corey present. Regular member Jennifer Gay-Smith was not present but completed a Mullins Affidavit after reviewing the meeting materials and listening to the recording. The hearing was subsequently continued to December 5, 2016 when it was continued again to December 19, 2016 with no testimony or discussion. The hearing was subsequently continued to January 11, 2017 and February 6, 2017. The Board also had a scheduled site visit on November 5, 2016. Peer review for the Board was completed by John Chessia, PE, Chessia Consulting, and Jeffrey Dirk, PE, PTOE, FITE, Vanasse and Associates, Inc.
The Applicant team consisted of Daniel Brewer, Attorney; John Cavanaro, Cavanaro Consulting; Sean Papich, Landscape Architect; Robert Murray and Fran Blanchard, Trustees of Reservations.
BACKGROUND AND DISCUSSION
The TTOR propose to relocate one of two stone pillars, specifically the pillar at the western side of the entrance to World’s End, to a location 10’2” further west on land belonging to the TTOR. The pillar will be restored and rebuilt to at least its present condition in the new location. The purpose of the relocation is to accommodate the widening of the driveway at the entrance to the World’s End Reservation as part of the TTOR’s “Parking, Circulation and Amenities Project”. No trees are being removed as part of the project.
In his letter of November 18, 2016, Mr. Dirk noted that the current traffic volumes and the need to maintain safe and efficient access for emergency vehicles necessitates that the driveway be widened. He supported the relocation of the stone pillar to provide a minimum driveway width of 22 feet to accommodate two way travel. The Fire Department reviewed the project and in their email of January 9, 2017 stated that they have no further concerns or comments. Police Chief Glen Olsson commented on the project design throughout the process, and in his letter of February 1, 2017 stated that “the design as proposed will provide a significant improvement to the existing public safety concerns that resulted in this application.” The Board asked if the improved access was still possible if the column was only moved 8’2” in order to reduce the proximity of the relocated pillar to the seawall. The Applicant said that moving the pillar 8’2” to the west would still allow the entrance to be widened to accommodate two way traffic and that was acceptable to them.
Before starting deliberations the Chairman noted that the scenic road regulations are specific to “the cutting or removal of trees or the tearing down or destruction of stone walls, or portions thereof on a scenic road”, and that it is unclear if the stone pillar in and of itself constitutes a stone wall. The Chairman noted that the Board is treating it as such to be as conservative as possible in the review of this application and the Board considered it and rendered a decision on that basis.
The Board then considered the project in relation to the criteria below, discussed potential conditions, and made the following findings:
1. Preservation of natural resources- The Board found that no trees are being removed as part of the relocation of the stone pillar, and the area affected by the relocation is proposed to be landscaped. Additional landscaping will also take place on site as part of the larger project. Accordingly, the proposed relocation will be consistent with and promote the preservation of natural resources.
2. Environmental values- The Board found that the relocation of the column was reviewed during the Conservation Commission’s review process due to the proximity to the resource areas, and is subject to the Order of Conditions issued by the Conservation Commission. This project review process has preserved environmental values.
3. Historical values- The Board found that the relocation and reconstruction of the stone pillar as opposed to the removal of the stone pillar retains the original feeling of an entry between two columns and thus preserves the historical values.
4. Scenic and aesthetic characteristics- The Board found that no trees are being removed for this work. The stone pillar will be restored and rebuilt to at least its present conditions in the new location thus preserving scenic and aesthetic characteristics.
5. Public safety- The Board found that relocating the stone pillar will enable the widening of the driveway at the entrance to allow for two way traffic at the entrance, reducing the public safety concerns related to traffic congestion observed at times of peak public access to the site promoting public safety. The Board also found that widening the entrance will better accommodate the emergency vehicles responding to the site, thus public safety will be promoted, and, that Police Chief Glenn Olsson supports the project as proposed and has submitted letters to the record.
6. Compensatory actions proposed, such as replacement of trees of walls- The Board found that no trees or walls are being removed as part of the relocation of the stone pillar.
7. Other Sound Planning Considerations - The Board found that a related site plan review is underway with a peer review of traffic and circulation improvements. The peer review supports widening the entrance to allow two way circulation as part of the “Parking, Circulation and Amenities Project”.
VOTE AND CONDITIONS
At the close of the hearing, it was moved by William Ramsey, seconded by Sarah Corey, and SO VOTED, to APPROVE the relocation of the stone pillar as shown on the plans titled “Site Plan Set, World’s End”, prepared for The Trustees of Reservations, prepared by Cavanaro Consulting, dated 9/21/16, revised to 1/4/17, 3 sheets, based on the findings, and subject to the conditions included in the Board’s deliberations, as follows:
1. The stone pillar shall be re-built in the new location 8’2” to the west of the current location as presented.
2. The stone pillar shall be restored and rebuilt to at least its present conditions in the new location.
3. The DPW will ascertain that the condition of the sea wall will not be compromised by the relocation of the pillar.
Judith S. Sneath, Chairman
cc: Historic, J. Dirk, J. Chessia, Conservation Commission, Building Department, Assessor’s, DPW, R. Sylvester, G. Olsson, R. Olsson, ZBA, D. Brewer
EXECUTED this ______ day of February, 2017
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Plymouth, ss February _____, 2017
Then personally appeared Judith S. Sneath, Chairman of the Hingham Planning Board, and acknowledged the foregoing to be the free act and deed of said Board.
______________________________ My Commission Expires March 4, 2022
Dolores A. DeLisle, Notary Public