By Eliza Rosenberry
A proposed Planned Residential Development (PRD) on Fox Run Road is likely nearing a protracted approval decision as Planning Board members are eager to move forward.
“Let’s try to make the next hearing the last one,” said Board member Shawn Hanegan at the November 15 public hearing. “I think we’ve agreed upon the general concept, so whatever it takes to dot the i’s and cross the t’s.”
The public hearing was continued to December 20, marking the sixth public hearing over more than four months for this development.
Attorney Brian DeVellis, representing developer David Bernstein, addressed questions about a homeowners’ association. Because the proposed development is on a private way at the request of the Department of Public Works, he explained, a homeowners’ association is needed to manage maintenance of the road as well as the shared open space, though some of the latter could fall under the care of the Conservation Commission.
The Fox Run section of the development, including the five new homes and excluding the existing unit, will be managed by a homeowners’ association. The two homes in the Buehler section of the development will have a separate maintenance and management contract.
“You can’t have your cake and eat it too,” said Fox Run resident Fred Klatt, who expressed dismay that the project could be considered a single PRD while containing two distinct development areas.
Planning Board Chair Jeff Cohen acknowledged the development is unusual, particularly given that the proposed single family homes don’t meet the bylaw’s required variance of housing type.
“That’s going to be something the [Board] members are going to have to reconcile,” Cohen said.
DeVellis addressed a number of other points about the plan including road layout, streetlights, and public access to the Narrow-Gauge Rail-Trail which runs behind houses along Fox Run Road. Board members asked for the homeowners’ association covenant to include a provision for members of the public to access the rail trail from the end of the private way.
A 25-foot buffer around the exterior of the Fox Run development area will be considered shared, contiguous open space. Residents of the new development can access that space but will not be permitted to build structures or remove trees there. Such oversight will be enforced by the homeowners’ association.
As with previous public hearings on this development, many neighborhood residents attended and spoke to express concerns or ask questions. Some inquired about preserving trees and creating landscape buffers between their properties and the new development. Others wanted to ensure that new neighbors’ homes will be far enough away from existing houses. Overall, public comments focused on mitigating effects of development rather than preventing or modifying the plan.
Board members Amy Lloyd and Sandra Hackman reiterated their disappointment, expressed at previous hearings, regarding the relatively large size of the homes and how much the houses are likely to cost. Because the development does not meet the bylaw requirement of 20 percent housing type variance, Hackman also urged the Board to be diligent in wording its decision so as not to set a precedent for future developers to skirt that requirement.