Vol. III No. 6 3/15/2022
Notes from the Planning Board (PB), March 1, Hybrid meeting
- Bill Vogt, Chair
- Marie Raftery
- Nancy Socha
- Gary Pitney
- Jennifer Carmichael, secretary
- Kate Fletcher
- Peter Strauss
- Minutes approved as written (date?)
- 8 Hawthorne — Public Hearing for Special Permit
- Attorney Elizabeth Goodman for the owners (Daniel and Betty Pincus).
- Request to continue the matter until March 15, granted
- Peter Strauss and Ruth Friendly, neighbors, each requested a copy of the application
- Discuss Cottage Era Bylaw as related to the subdivision and cluster housing bylaws
- Chair pointed out the Subdivision and Cluster Housing Bylaws are Commonwealth bylaws and cannot be altered by any municipality
- Chair — determine if Cottage Era Bylaw is different enough from other two to be necessary?
- Raftery pointed out subdivision is by right as long as meets other zoning conditions (for example, setbacks) and Cottage Era requires a Special Permit.
- Fletcher apparently disagreed — she said there was a review process even with a subdivision.
- Chair asked when was last subdivision? Pitney guessed it was Stone Ridge Definitive Subdivision about twenty years ago.
- Pitney said Special Permit gives Town more control; by right means they can go forward. He briefly mentioned lawsuit which the Town lost (2002).
- Raftery attended the Conservation Commission (ConCom) meeting as they discussed Performance Standards. Raftery shared that ConCom wanted to tailor language so applicants requiring approvals from ConCom and PB would understand.
- Chair asked why PB considers Lake and Pond Overlay District (LPOD) permits and why those would not be more appropriate with ConCom?
- Pitney suggested PB ask Select Board (SB) to transfer that permitting process to ConCom.
- PB also discussed joint site visits and supporting a Conservation agent.
Editor's Notes: These notes offer definitions of terms used during meetings. For example -
- Special permits — in addition to being "in harmony with the bylaws...shall be subject to general or specific provisions set forth therein; and such permits may also impose conditions, safeguards, and limitations on time or use."
- By right means that if the owner/developer abides by — "is in harmony with" — general bylaws such as setbacks, acreage per dwelling, length of driveways, etc. then the project cannot be stopped and no special conditions or limitations can be imposed.
- Brief summary of lawsuit — Stone Ridge owned 99.6 acres and planned to build a subdivision. Stockbridge PB was considering imposing conditions and limitations. Background: on October 2002 Stone Ridge filed a nine-lot definitive subdivision plan. On March 24, 2003, PB had not approved. On April 1, 2003, therefore, Richard Bernstein, Manager, Stone Ridge filed suit in Mass Land Court seeking to compel the PB to approve and issue a certificate of construction. The Court found in Stone Ridge's (the plaintiff's) favor. Stockbridge appealed until 2010. There were (apparently) two appeals filed by Stockbridge after the original lawsuit filed by Stone Ridge. Town/ PB lost all 3. You can read the cases in full at https://caselaw.findlaw.com/ma-court-of-appeals/1524988.html
Photo: Blue Moon Images/Dana Goedewaagen