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Apartment construction plans met with abutter opposition

June 30, 2010
TILTON — The Planning Board got an earful of negative feedback last Tuesday when residents of Joscelyn Lane and its surrounding neighborhood attended a meeting to hear the site plans for Cloverdale Place, a multi-family residential development proposed for a 10-acre tract of land off the dirt road.

James Bolduc of LePene Engineering and Surveying presented the plans, altered slightly since first being presented to the board in 2004, to meet criteria laid out by the board and zoning changes made since that time.

He said the building's size had been reduced from 30 to 20 units and the owners were prepared to make upgrades to a portion of Joscelyn Drive to accommodate the increased traffic on the road.

"We'll pave the first 320 feet of roadway and bring it up to town standards with two 12-foot lanes and a three-foot shoulder on each side," Bolduc said.

From there a 700-foot serpentine drive would wind up the hill to the complex.

Parking for 55 vehicles, including eight handicap spaces, would surround the building. The only other structure on the property would be a 30x40 foot storage building for maintenance equipment.

A driveway permit has been sent to DOT, and Bolduc said he had met with Capt. Brad Ober of Tilton-Northfield Fire Department to discuss safety issues on the site. Ober was concerned with water pressure for a hydrant at the location and fire vehicle accessibility to the building. Bolduc said he would accommodate the needs of moving safety vehicles around the lot and had already contacted Tilton-Northfield Water District for pressure and flow tests. While he said water seemed to be adequate for the development, they would be checking the upper level water pressure for the units themselves.

A 2004 survey of the land showed 0.8 acres uphill from the building's footprint were covered with wetlands but Bolduc said he was told no wetlands permit was needed as construction would not impact that area.

"We've notified all abutters and upon hearing positive reaction from the board, we'll move forward with lighting, landscaping and construction plans," said Bolduc.

Many of the abutters were at the meeting Tuesday, however, and aired several concerns. They said one of the biggest problems is drainage along the steep road, which had already seen several wash outs over the years. Abutters below the building's site said they're worried about water running onto their property.

One man said he already received enough runoff onto his land and couldn't handle "one gallon more."

Others felt rebuilding the road up only to the drive into the complex would not be enough. Where the road and proposed driveway would meet drainage is already an issue and construction vehicles would destroy the remaining roadway left as gravel.

Planning Board member Deana Cowan asked if the owner could extend the rebuild for Joscelyn Lane beyond the driveway into Cloverdale but Bolduc did not think that feasible.

Laura Maynard, who lives on Route 3, about 80 feet in front of where the building would be constructed, said her property was greatly affected by the construction of Lowe's. Hundreds of frogs and other creatures were moved from their homes and onto her land, she said, and the noise from Lowe's is already intolerable, especially with a loading dock and dumpster so close by to one side of her home. She noted from the plans Bolduc presented that a dumpster for the new complex would also be behind her house.

"Lowe's empties theirs at 2 in the morning as it is. What time will we be hearing this one?" she asked.

A final concern of abutters and neighbors was the increase in traffic entering onto Route 3. Many complained that waiting times are already up to 15 minute to pull onto the busy road at certain times of the day with left turns nearly impossible. An increase of 40 more cars was going to aggravate the situation for entering Route 3 many neighbors said.

Board Ex-officio Sandra Plessner said she was concerned about building occupancy. Density is determined by lots, and since this ten acre tract was one lot, 20 units would exceed the allowable density for the property, she said. Board members agreed that a variance from the zoning board would be required and referred Bolduc and the owner back to the ZBA. Bolduc asked that the application remain open while he meets with the ZBA and addresses the board's other concerns. He is scheduled to return before the Planning Board on July 27.

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