Cheshire Planning Board
Hearing: Monday, September 25, 2017 7PM
Present: Donna M. DeFino, Francis M. Griswold, Peter H. Traub, Ronald W. DeAngelis, Nick Graham
Absent: Sandra Sloane
Audience: Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Attorney Stephen N. Pagnotta of Donovan O’Connor & Dodig, LLP, and Gerald Garner, Cheshire Zoning Enforcement Officer/Building Commissioner
Donna opened the monthly meeting of the Cheshire Planning Board. The meeting minutes for August 2017 were motioned for approval by Peter; 2nd by Ron. A unanimous vote was taken.
Peter discussed the Technical Assistance Grant to Municipalities in Massachusetts. The CPB will request going forward for planning assistance in the areas of Medical and Recreational Marijuana Bylaws and Improvement of Land Use. Donna will be attending the Cheshire BOS meeting on 9/26/17 to review the CPB plans and seek their input and approval.
Donna read The Berkshire Eagle Legal Notice for this evenings Hearing (Advertised on 9/9/17 and 9/16/17) for:
Sandra J. Smith. Project Location. Lot #1 and Lot #2 Richmond Hill Road, Cheshire, MA 01225. Map 235
- Believes the project meets the criteria to receive a Special Permit.
- It is not detrimental to the area.
- It will not present any additional traffic or congestion.
- It is in a residential area and will have good visibility.
- The plan is to avoid any wetlands in the area.
- Thanked Mr. Pagnotta for his presentation. The CPB reviewed the plans submitted. However, Donna stated that the project/plans go against the Cheshire Bylaws as one driveway that services two (2) parcels of land is determined to be a common driveway and that is not allowed according the Cheshire Protective and Planning Zoning Bylaw adopted on June 8, 2015.
- Additionally, the board was not satisfied with the plans submitted by the surveyor.
- Discussion ensued regarding other options such as building a bridge, and dividing the parcels differently.
- Stated that one (1) person will be using it. In fact, he said, “The CPB could put restrictions on the Special Permit if that would make them more comfortable.”
There is already an existing driveway. The middle lot has a driveway and culvert. The driveway cut was denied by the Cheshire Highway Superintendent, Blair Crane. Donna read the following:
Dated: “August 18, 2017
Taking these geographic anomalies into account and after notable consideration, I hereby deny your request for a driveway permit to this location. If the Conservation Commission as well as the Planning Board were to approve your plan in the future and a set of professionally engineered, stamped drawing were presented to me showing the issues above to be addressed then I would reconsider your request at that time.”
-Donna read from M.G.L. Section 12-12i on Common Driveways.
- “If the CPB decides on approval; restrictions could be included.”
- Further discussed the possibility of having three (3) 200’ frontage lots with each parcel having a driveway.
- She stated the plan submitted does not meet the Cheshire Bylaws. She motioned to deny the Special Permit for access through Lot #1 to Lot #2 on the Richmond Hill property owned by Smith’s.
Mr. Smith wondered if the board would consider that they are not people of many means and if the CPB could be more lenient. They would sign a statement that no one else will use it. Donna explained possible scenarios were it may start off that way but could end up with several owners using the driveway.
- The duty of the CHP is to enforce our bylaws and the CPB cannot rule against the bylaws. A driveway that services two (2) lots is a common driveway and not allowed in Cheshire.
An opinion was asked of Mr. Garner as to whether he agreed with the interpretation of the Planning Board, that this would constitute a shared driveway. In discussing this opinion he asked Ms. Smith why she did not want to divide off a portion of Lot #1 property to be included in the sale of Lot # 2 to accommodate a driveway. Her response was that the partners of the parcels did not want to do this as they may have future plans to subdivide the remaining acreage. Mr. Garner informed Ms. Smith and Attorney Pagnotta that this would constitute a “self-imposed hardship” on the property.
As the CPB prepared to make a motion, Attorney Pagnotta withdrew the application. Fran motioned to accept the withdrawal without prejudice to be presented at another time; 2nd by Nick with a unanimous vote was taken. 8:00PM
Next Meeting: Monday, October 23, 2017 - 7PM - Cheshire Community Center. (E. Harbor Road Solar Project Continuation Hearing.)
Peter motioned to adjourn at 8:15pm; 2nd by Ron with a unanimous vote taken.
Carole A. Hilderbrand, Secretary
Donna DeFino, Chairman
Peter H. Traub
Ronald W. DeAngelis