Evergreen Avenue Planned Residential Development Draws Overflow Crowd; Hearing Continued to May 24

Evergreen Meadows, situated among its neighbors - Image (c)
Evergreen Meadows, situated among its neighbors – Image (c) Stamski and McNary, 2016 all rights reserved

By Bob Dorer

A standing room only crowd of abutters turned out for the Planning Board’s April 26 public hearing on a “Special Permit and Definitive Subdivision Plan-Planned Residential Development (PRD)” for 56 Evergreen Avenue.  Also present were the land owner and development team for the project, the Selectmen and Finance Committee liaisons to the Planning Board, and other interested citizens.

Editor’s note: The area comprised of Evergreen Avenue, Neillian Street, and Neillian Way includes 99 residences. There are at least 11 direct abutters on Evergreen Avenue and Neillian Way.

After determining that the meeting room could just handle the assembled crowd, Chairman Jeff Cohen opened the public hearing.   He recognized the proposed principal owner and developer Bryan Melanson, who, after a brief statement, introduced the development team’s engineer, George Dimakarakos of Stamski & McNary.  Dimakarakos then presented the overall plans for “Evergreen Meadows.”   The current land owner is Daniel Yauckoes, formerly of Bedford and now residing in Chelmsford.

Evergreen Meadows plot plan
The building distribution is anchored at one end of the parcel – Image (c) Stamski and McNary, 2016 all rights reserved

As outlined by Dimakarakos, the 17-unit development of duplexes and single-family structures will have three affordable units and over 40% of open space, meeting or exceeding the requirements for this type of PRD.   He also noted the various topography issues on the site related to drainage plans and pointed out how the units will sit on the property and how they will appear to abutters on Neillian Way.   He noted that at the request of the Fire Department the developer will plan on widening Evergreen Avenue to 22 feet to the intersection with Neillian Street.

After the presentation, the Board asked for clarification on a number of items:

  • Confirmation of buried utilities (yes),
  • Post office box layouts (pending input from the postmaster),
  • Nature of ownership since it will be condominiums (easement, not fee),
  • How privacy will be maintained (landscaping, not fences),
  • Access to the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway (existing path that will be documented as a public easement),
  • Request for additional access to the bikeway, request for limited open field mowing for wildlife,
  • Request for more frequent open field mowing to limit ticks,
  • Review of adequacy of the parking area for visitors,
  • Sidewalk extensions where possible, and
  • Need for additional street lighting information to ensure both adequacy and potential abutter impacts.

Chairman Cohen then opened the floor to questions from the public.  The abutters, who listened attentively and were well prepared with a number of questions, were particularly concerned about the impact of additional traffic on Evergreen Avenue and Neillian Street. There is already a dangerous level of speeding, as motorists take a short cut through the area to avoid the sharp turn at the corner of Summer Street and South Road.  They suggested the need for additional stop signs at the Neillian Way and Neillian Street, Neillian Street and Evergreen Avenue, and Neillian Street and South Road intersections. Abutters said they appreciated the plan for the turnaround loop that can accommodate fire trucks. They were concerned about the potential widening of Evergreen Avenue and its impact on their homes, which already have very tight front yards.

Privacy issues were also raised: What screening plans will be in place for abutters? There were concerns about the actual distance from property lines to structures in the new development. Abutters also asked who would monitor the development to ensure it is built as specified.

The proposed fire pit feature was also in contention as speakers said it would add to the already excessive smoke in the area and keep smoke-sensitive residents inside more often.

Following comments and reactions to the plan from individual Board members, Chairman Cohen accepted a motion to continue the public hearing until May 24. He noted the various items the developer will now be working on to provide additional information responding to the Board, public, and other town department inputs.


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