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Board approves 7-unit plan but wetlands issues remain

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PEPPERELL — The Planning Board approved the Beaver Creek Circle definitive subdivision plan on Monday night following months of discussion that took the plan through several revisions. The plan calls for a seven-lot residential open space development, including six small lots on Beaver Creek Circle and one 13-acre house lot serviced by a lengthy private driveway off the cul-de-sac.

Two parcels of several acres each abutting Julia Lane and Beaver Creek Circle will be set aside as public recreational space and will contain hiking trails, according to the developer, Robert M. Hicks Inc.

The approval was granted with one waiver approved and three denied. Waivers for vertical sight distance, a 40-foot right-of-way, and increased drainage flow rates from the subdivision were all denied. Only an exception to showing trees on the plan with 18-foot or greater diameters was waived.

The applicant still faces issues with the Conservation Commission concerning the route of water and sewer utilities to the large 13-acre house lot. Those utilities must cross wetlands, but the design presented to Conservation last week was met with unanimous disapproval due to its impact on wetlands adjacent to the existing crossing for the private driveway.

The existing plan for the guardrail calls for a steel structure. The newly-approved plan will replace that design with a rustic timber structure.

“Bob Lee is comfortable with that [new] design,” Brem said.

Planning Administrator Inez Gove quoted town engineer Robert Lee as stating, “It will provide for a safe roadway.”

* The board continued a public hearing for Reedy Meadow Estates definitive subdivision plan after hearing a presentation by Eric Swanson of David E. Ross Associates, representing the applicant, John J. Lorden.

“We haven’t dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s just yet,” Swanson said.

“Well that’s unfortunate,” said Chairman Joe Sergi, who expressed disappointment that the plan was incomplete, including details for the parcel containing the sewer pump station. Continuing the hearing affords the applicant an opportunity to redesign the plan to accommodate the pump station parcel without incurring extended delays for a decision by the board.

The cluster of subdivision homes that lie inside Groton happens to be outside of the Groton sewer district. Due to their proximity to the Jersey Street municipal well, Pepperell Health Agent Ed Wirtanen would like to see those homes connect to the Pepperell sewer system.

“It’s protecting our water as well as Groton residents drinking our water,” said Wirtanen. Connecting those homes would impact the allocation of capacity currently provided to Groton by Pepperell. Further discussion is expected.

* Board members expressed no interest in a land donation offer from local developer Joan Crandall. Crandall was left with a small parcel of land, including portions of a pond and dam, adjacent to the three-lot subdivision on the Moonlight Way common drive.

Previous offers to both the Pepperell Conservation Commission and the Nashoba Land Trust were rejected due to potential liability considerations with the dam.

“We’ve had an incredible amount of water and the dam is still there,” said Crandall.

Conservation Commissioner Robert Rand, a regular attendee at Planning Board meetings, noted that state regulations regarding dam safety and inspections had recently changed. He suggested that Crandall review those regulations while other board members suggested offering the parcel to residents of the Moonlight Way common drive or to Habitat for Humanity.

* In other business, the board approved as-built plans for Rockwood Estates common drive off Maura Lane.

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