AYER — The Planning Board conducted three subdivision hearings on Feb. 2 including one to be called Easy Street.
The subdivision would be comprised of 13 lots on 5.82 acres based around a 500-foot cul-de-sac at 85 Sandy Pond Rd.
The project was represented by consultant Steven Mullaney, who was seeking preliminary approval of the design.
He said his client, Roger Kanniard, chose the name because the development would include a homeowners’ association to handle much of the regular maintenance.
”He’s viewing it as something of a condo development,” he said.
Even so, the units would all be single-family, four-bedroom homes.
Kanniard originally considered a cluster development at the site, but opted for a conventional subdivision instead.
Much of the comment on the new design was delivered by board member Patricia Walsh, who felt the turnaround on the cul-de-sac was not in scale with the project and asked that it be made smaller.
It conformed to the bylaws, Mullaney said, but Walsh wasn’t so sure.
The issue resurfaced when the board was deciding whether to vote on the plan or delay its decision.
However, Walsh said the conversation could continue during definitive review.
The preliminary approval is not a green light to begin construction, said board Chairman William Oelfke.
”It just lets them go to the next stage, where they provide more detail,” he said.
Finally, board member James Lucchesi said the subdivision would be within walking distance of Sandy Pond Beach, and asked if the applicant would agree to help fund a sidewalk to link the areas.
Mullaney was uncertain, but he said he would check with his client.
With preliminary review of the plan complete, the board invoked the consultant bylaw to review it further. The bylaw allows the board to have its consultant review the plan at the applicant’s expense.
In other business, the board opened a hearing for a landowner seeking Approval Not Required (ANR) status for a subdivision, which was complicated by questions of ownership and access.
The landowner was Daniel Noonan, who was seeking to subdivide a parcel southeast of the junction of Highland Avenue and Winthrop Avenue into two lots.
However, the board had questions about access to the rear lot. It is reached via a private way that has a fence down the middle of it.
The fence is property of the new Nashoba Park assisted living facility, which is owned by Volunteers of America.
The fence slants outwards toward Noonan’s property on the private way, making it so the road slims to about 15 feet wide.
The board typically requires access roads to be at least 28 feet wide, though they agreed to take a look at the site.
The fence also raised questions of ownership. The board said that, unless proven otherwise, property owners on both sides of the road have ownership to the center line.
While that detail could affect whether the site has sufficient road access or not, Oelfke said the principals would need to work that out before the ANR question could be tackled.
”The board is not going to get into the fight of ownership,” he said. “If it’s not certain, we’ll vote no.”
The board finished by voting to extend the hearing.
Finally, the board approved several waivers for the proposed nine-unit Riley Farm subdivision at 66 Groton School Rd.
The waivers included allowing a 24-foot cul-de-sac (which the board termed standard), allowing sidewalks on only one side of the road and allowing the cul-de-sac to meet with the main road at a 76-degree angle.
The bylaws typically require a 90-degree angle at the junction for safety reasons, but after visiting the site, board members agreed it was permissible.
”It’s not a bad thing in this situation,” said Oelfke.
The hearing was continued until March 3.