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 TOWN OF WATERTOWN

Board of Appeals

149 Main Street

Watertown, MA  02472             

 

Telephone (617) 972-6428

Harry J. Vlachos, Chairman                                                                                                                             Facsimile   (617) 926-7778

Melissa M. Santucci, Clerk                                                                                                                                     www.watertown-ma.gov

Stuart J. Bailey, Member

Deborah Elliott, Member

Carlos Fernandez, Member

 

MINUTES

 

On Wednesday evening, May 27, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Administration Building, the Zoning Board of Appeals held a public hearing.  In attendance: Harry J. Vlachos, Chairman; Melissa M. Santucci Clerk; Stuart J. Bailey, Member; Deborah Elliott, Member; Carlos Fernandez, Member;  Nancy Scott, Zoning Enforcement Officer; Danielle Fillis, Senior Planner; Louise Civetti, Clerk.

 

Chair Vlachos opened the meeting, introduced the board and supporting staff, swore in the audience and announced the resignation of Alternate Member Richard Moynihan.

 

Vote on the minutes will be postponed to next month. 

 

Ms. Santucci read the legal notice:

 

David Barnett, President, The Proprietors of the Cemetery of Mount Auburn, 580 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA herein requests the Board of Appeals to grant a Special Permit in accordance with §5.01.2(e), Cemetery Use, Table of Use Regulations, Zoning Ordinance, so as to utilize 105,193 square feet of land formerly occupied by Aggregate Industries, as the cemetery's operations facility with storage of landscaping material, granite, slate, and a plant nursery at 165 Grove Street and 105 Coolidge Hill Road (a/k/a 151 Grove Street), located in the Industrial-3 (I-3) Zoning District.

 

William York, Esquire, Gilman, McLaughlin & Hanrahan, Boston,  representing the petitioner, ?Cemetery? introduced David Barnett, President, Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Michael Albano, Chief Financial Officer, Candace Currie, Director of Planning & Sustainability.  Attorney York indicated that the Cemetery has a purchase and sale agreement and intends to close on the land previously occupied by Aggregate Industries on June 30, 2009.   

 

The Board is familiar with the site, as it had two previous petitions for development ? apartment house and re-establishment of a cement plant.  The Cemetery which occupies the adjacent property, 3.76 acres used as their storage and recycle yard, also owns across the street (main Cemetery grounds) from this site.  They have a vision of what the Grove Street streetscape can be and it was apparent that the former occupants-Aggregate?industrial use was not the vision the Cemetery thought appropriate, therefore entered into negotiations to purchase the site.  The Board received plans showing the proposed operation. 

 

Attorney York detailed the site uses as noted on drawing #4 ?Site Layout Plan?.  Very little construction will be done to the site; however, a future metal storage shed 40?x60? is shown, but not intended at this time. It will be no greater than 18? in height, used for storage/material and preservation of historical quality monuments and miscellaneous items for preservation.  There will be no vehicle storage in the shed including ?terrain vehicles? or other gas powered machinery.  Zoning Officer indicated that because there is no gasoline separate proposed, no vehicles and/or equipment containing gas is permitted within the shed. 

 

The first improvement to the site will be to relocate the front fence back 10? to allow for a landscape area along the Grove Street corridor frontage, which is the most visible to the public and will contain the proposed woody plant nursery directly behind this 10? buffer.  An 8? high black chain-link with a remote controlled gate at the entrance on Grove Street is proposed and continues along the driveway entrance adjacent 149 Grove Street, Bubble-Gum Trust building   Along the westerly lot line, near the top of the slope along Coolidge Hill Road, a black chain-link fence will be set-back from the property line, depending on the vegetation and slope and will be between the height of 5? ? 6? for safety and liability reasons. This area will be cleaned out of debris and over-grown/trees branches and the like.  The plan shows the fence to be on the property line along Coolidge Hill Road ? this is incorrect.  We intend to weave back from the property line into the natural vegetation so that it doesn?t take away from the neighborhood.    The remainder of the site border will be fenced in with 5? - 8? high standard chain link. 

 

The existing curb opening along Coolidge Hill Road will be closed off with new curbing and landscaping. The area will be graded slightly with input and advice of the DPW. 

 

The area of the site along the rear of the ?Bubble-Gum? building property and the slope will house the storage of scrap iron fencing, granite, slate, and miscellaneous items for future use.  This area will be graded slightly.  The remaining area along the westerly slope will have storage bins made from the large concrete blocks, which are now located on their adjacent site.  These bins will hold sand, stone, mulch, and other landscaping materials. Due to the significant slope, this area will be out of view from Coolidge Hill Road. The rear of the site will have an area for tree stumps, limbs, logs, storage.  Large trees fallen from the main cemetery would be brought to this site to be cut-up and after some accumulation then hauled away off site.   

 

The site is for passive use by the cemetery and while outlined on the plan for the different uses, as they utilize the site, some flexibility is necessary.  Hours of operation will be from 7 or 7:30 a.m. to 4 or 4:30 p.m. ? no weekend hours unless required during growing season or emergency/weather related reasons.  Employees will enter the property mostly using the golf-cart type tractors.  No employee parking will be on site; no lighting is proposed as it is not needed.  Traffic to the site is minimal;  deliveries would be products stored in the bins-sand, stone and landscape materials.  3-4 Employees will be on site during growing season and  fall season.  It will be on an as-needed bases.   No offices,  some days there will be no employees accessing the site.  

 

While not germane to this petition, Attorney York explained  the Cemetery?s planning of other possible uses for the adjacent property, currently being used for recycling/storage yard.  These plans include a commercial parking lot to be used for 10 years by Mt. Auburn Hospital and they would be seeking an ?Open-Air? parking license from the town. They are in negotiations with the hospital.  This would benefit both parties ? one central parking area for the hospital (several satellite lots in and around town) and income for the Cemetery, off-setting the purchase of the property in this economic climate. Additionally, the 10? landscape buffer will continue along that frontage of Grove Street.   In 10-15-20 years, the cemetery may choose to sell the property to someone with the same vision of quality or they could use it for cemetery plots, green houses or administrative use.  The cemetery is further considering assisting the town in providing a temporary relocation of the recycling center on the front of the lot known as the Shick property.  The existing house has been maintained, but it does not fit into the Cemetery plans at this time.  

 

Petitioner is seeking a special permit for Cemetery Use in accordance with §5.01.2(e) Table of Use Regulations, on 105,193 sf of land at 165 Grove street and 105 Coolidge Hill Road.  Attorney York states that this is an appropriate use of the land. 

 

The Board had questions relative to the potential grading.  Member Bailey asks if they intend to cut-into the slope.  Member Santucci asks if the woody plant nursery is intended to be raised, or how is it delineated/sustained from the gravel driveway, curbing? She is concerned about the water runoff into this nursery.   Attorney York said that minimal grading is intended, the existing concrete block wall will remain as is.  There will be no new asphalt.  Some asphalt exists, but will be removed for the nursery use and some will remain, as it is.

 

Chairman Vlachos is concerned that the plans lacked details-specifics.  Attorney York  stated that the storage of the sand, mulch will be done by the placement of large concrete blocks, creating bins.  Member Fernandez confirms that the bins are against the concrete wall which rises to 30?. 

 

David Barnett, President states he expects some grading and is planning on working with DPW and their engineer to be sure all drainage remains on this site and it eliminates any ponding.  Since drafting this plan and viewing the site, there are areas that we will need to fill-in, but there are no areas that we intend to dig-out.  The plan is vague due to their ?hurry-up? approach to long term planning.  They are trying to condense what they are doing in the adjacent area and utilize this new area more efficiently and to the extent of having it visually obscure utilizing the existing slope and walls.  He states that the  woody nursery was placed closer to the street, to offer a visual barrier.  They will require importing good growing soil for this area and they have not reached that level of planning as to how they intend to delineate this area. 

 

Attorney York states that these are conceptual plans, intending to seek cemetery use prior to the closing of the property on June 30th.  They have every intention to detail the site plan in accordance with the engineer and DPW.  The logistic of the specific use of the site; i.e., the woody nursery needs to be addressed by a professional and with guidance from town officials. 

 

Chairman Vlachos questioned if any other entity beside the Cemetery will use this land or growing trees for other cemeteries?  York states, this land and operation will only be used by and for the Cemetery

            Trees boarding the front of the property presently will be kept and some areas will be filled-in per Mr. Barnett. 

 

             The Board heard from the public.

 

Alyson Karakouzian, 141-143 Grove Street, have met several times with petitioner and is in support of the cemetery use and believes it is the best use of the site and a rare opportunity to take advantage of. She commented on the cemetery being a good neighbor and appreciated the advanced neighborhood meeting.

 

Greg Walsh, 128 Coolidge Hill Road, resident since 1981, agrees this is the best use of the site ? especially after having lived through the dust and noise of the concrete plant.  A great neighbor.

 

Angie Kounelis, District A Councilor, she supports Mt. Auburn Cemetery; her family plot is at Mt. Auburn, and Watertown as a community provides the services and Cambridge reaps the notoriety.     This is a complex issue; it is a passive use and I support that use on that site.  However, with the statements of on-going negotiations with Mt. Auburn Hospital, the proposed use of parking for the Mt. Auburn Hospital on the adjacent property will create traffic issues and with only the need of approval from the Licensing Board. She would not support that proposal.  She does not support this 100% due to the complexity.  She is concerned with the loss of tax revenue with the non-profit ownership and potential lessee.   She supports the community at-large as well as the immediate abutters. 

 

Dennis Duff, 33 Spruce Street is strongly in favor of the proposal.  The cemetery has been a great neighbor to the community.  He would like the cemetery to consider donating a sliver of  the frontage along Grove Street for a tree path and sidewalk use.  A thought down the road - It would be nice if we had a community garden space or tree planting for the town.  He states it is upsetting to see cars from other communities- use our town to park in when our town does not receive any revenue.

 

The Board closed the public hearing.  While the Board was disappointed on the lack of details on the plans, it is not sufficient to turn the project down.  Member Fernandez suggests the Board qualify the control plans with conditions.  The submitted plans are troublesome - not the intent/use but the lack of detail.  Member Fernandez supports the petition and would like to condition that no significant grading occur, to prohibit the cutting-into the existing slope.  Member Santucci suggests returning to the Board with a revised site plan.  The Board then discussed proposed conditions, which they deem necessary to protect the neighborhood and to ensure the proper operation of this cemetery use.  The Board finds that it does not need a landscaping plan for the front buffer; but does want any existing viable trees to be maintained.  Assurances of that was made by the President.   The Board finds that the proposed use of the site is appropriate and votes to approve this use to the Cemetery. 


 

 

 
 TOWN OF WATERTOWN

Board of Appeals

149 Main Street

Watertown, MA  02472             

 

Telephone (617) 972-6428

Harry J. Vlachos, Chairman                                                                                                                             Facsimile   (617) 926-7778

Melissa M. Santucci, Clerk                                                                                                                                     www.watertown-ma.gov

Stuart J. Bailey, Member

Deborah Elliott, Member

Carlos Fernandez, Member

 

MINUTES

 

On Wednesday evening, May 27, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Administration Building, the Zoning Board of Appeals held a public hearing.  In attendance: Harry J. Vlachos, Chairman; Melissa M. Santucci Clerk; Stuart J. Bailey, Member; Deborah Elliott, Member; Carlos Fernandez, Member;  Nancy Scott, Zoning Enforcement Officer; Danielle Fillis, Senior Planner; Louise Civetti, Clerk.

 

Ms. Santucci read the legal notice:

 

Coppola Pleasant Street LLC, Claudio Coppola, Owner, 31 Whitlowe Road, Newton, MA  02465, herein has revised its request to the Board of Appeals to grant  Special Permits in accordance with § 5.01(g)  Multi-Family 5+ and 5.07, Affordable Housing Requirements, (j) (3), (A) Rental Units, on average household income at 65% AMI; so as to raze existing Repair Garage and three-family dwelling and construct 4-story 48-unit residential rental building having 96 parking spaces with 35 spaces under bldg; 61 surfaces spaces with 20% (19 spaces) shadow parking in accordance with §6.01(h); further providing 5 affordable units requesting ?on average? household income at 65% AMI at the properties 118-120 & 132, and 140 Pleasant Street located in the Industrial-3 (I-3) Zoning District.

 

William York, Esquire, Gilman, McLaughlin & Hanrahan, LLP, petitioner?s attorney, requested the Board grant a withdrawal without prejudice on the petition of Coppola Pleasant Street, LLC as the Planning Board had voted to deny the petition.  The Board had received the request to withdraw in letter format, dated May 21, 2009. 

 

Ms. Santucci motioned to accept the request to Leave to Wtihdraw without Prejudice.  Ms. Elliott seconded.  Voted 5-0 to grant the withdrawal.

 

 

 


 

 
 TOWN OF WATERTOWN

Board of Appeals

149 Main Street

Watertown, MA  02472             

 

Telephone (617) 972-6428

Harry J. Vlachos, Chairman                                                                                                                             Facsimile   (617) 926-7778

Melissa M. Santucci, Clerk                                                                                                                                     www.watertown-ma.gov

Stuart J. Bailey, Member

Deborah Elliott, Member

Carlos Fernandez, Member

 

MINUTES

 

On Wednesday evening, May 27, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Administration Building, the Zoning Board of Appeals held a public hearing.  In attendance: Harry J. Vlachos, Chairman; Melissa M. Santucci Clerk; Stuart J. Bailey, Member; Deborah Elliott, Member; Carlos Fernandez, Member;  Nancy Scott, Zoning Enforcement Officer; Danielle Fillis, Senior Planner; Louise Civetti, Clerk.

 

Chair Vlachos announced the next case is under Other Business for the Modification to Control Documents and reminded the board that this case is regarding the Wireless Communications antennas by Omnipoint (T-Mobile) at the Union Church located at 531 Main Street.

 

John Constas, SAI Communications, representing T-Mobile, stated that an additional electrical box had been mandated by the FCC for back-up power of 8 hours.   Scott Adams, Advanced Engineering Group, stated the reasons the additional boxes were located to the left of the original site and between two sets of windows, had been due to the amount of room required by the size of the electrical boxes plus there was no area in the interior of the building to place the boxes indoors, out of view. 

 

The condenser unit was also placed between the same side of the building and the walkway in view of the playground and unprotected.  Photos were submitted by the church of children playing on the hop-scotch on the walkway with the electrical panels and condenser within inches of them.

 

The representatives of T-Mobil agreed to review their plans and come back to the board with a better plan for the safety of the children playing on or touching the equipment and the aesthetics of the building and landscape.   The board requested they bring their drawings in at scale and include repair to the building façade.

 

Ms. Santucci motioned to continue.  Ms. Elliott seconded.  Voted 5-0 to continue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Bailey motioned to adjourn.  Mr. Fernandez seconded.  5-0.  Meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.