Planning Commission Reviews Ground Disturbance Permit for Group Home and Highland View Road Project | News

TEWKSBURY – The Tewksbury Planning Council gathered for an in-person meeting on February 28, 2022 at Tewksbury Town Hall. Members Eric Ryder and Bob Fowler were not present.

The council tabled the approval of the minutes until all the members are present.

City planner Alex Lowder reported that due to a lack of quorum, a discussion on a special permit for Balance Spa at 1788 Main Street continued until March 14. Lowder also shared that she had an estimate from an engineering consultant for the design and approval of sidewalks at 1788 Main Street and 1866 Main Street to fill in the gaps along Main Street.

The review cost $45,750 “to prepare us for construction,” including signal updates and surveying existing conditions. Chairman Steve Johnson wanted to wait until all council members were present to discuss allocating funds from the sidewalk fund to the project.

Council considered an application for a special site plan permit, special permit and ground disturbance permit for Highland View Realty Trust at 60 Highland View Road, behind Vic’s Waffle House. At the January 10 meeting, the board reviewed a concept plan for Dutch company Zordi, which outlined plans for a high-tech greenhouse within a research and development framework for efficient fruit growth.

Consultant Matt Hamor said the developer had recently received a waiver from the Zoning Board of Appeals and had not significantly altered the design since its last appearance before the board.

The property will accommodate between four and six employees and traffic will come from small delivery trucks. Hamor shared the design renderings of the structural glass panels and reviewed the drainage and filtration systems in response to the city engineer and fire department. Hamor said the developer is working with the Conservation Commission and will continue discussions with city departments as plans are finalized.

Member Vinny Fratalia asked for better renderings of the building and expressed confusion that the site would be used to grow other fruit when the project was originally described as a strawberry greenhouse.

Hamor said the same process will be applied to different fruits as an R&D lab in preparation for a larger facility.

Member Jay Delaney said he still had a lot of unanswered questions, but mainly wanted to know if there was adequate snow storage.

“There are a lot of them,” Hamor said.

Johnson asked how the exterior of the building would be maintained.

“It’s a fancy-looking greenhouse” with high-tech, tough glass,” Hamor said, and it needs to be clean for light to pass through.

Johnson said he felt the property should have a fence even though the scorers hadn’t requested one. Hamor said there would be at least a fence for security.

The board continued the discussion until March 14 so that other members could review the plans.

Council considered a ground disturbance permit application for CIL Realty at 85 French St. Consultant Andy Baum of surveying and engineering firm Sherman & Frydryk explained the owner’s intention to raze the existing building and to build a five-bedroom, handicap-accessible, single-family home on a 1.5-acre lot as a residence for people with special needs.

Baum responded to comments from the city engineer and explained that the site design plan includes reducing the slope of the driveway, adding a retention basin and a vegetated swale at the level of the street to improve driver visibility and to manage water. runoff.

Fratalia said he felt the retention pond, although shallow, should be fenced in “given the clientele” of the property.

Delaney asked about erosion control; Baum said the issue would be taken up with the city engineer and the plan would include an erosion barrier.

Johnson reminded council members and the public to limit their comments to the proposed ground disturbance permit.

Resident Elaine O’Callahan, who lives opposite the property, expressed concern about the building being overcrowded without adequate staff, adding that she was not against group homes.

Johnson said his comments were outside the scope of the permit. O’Callahan asked about the project’s impact on groundwater, and Johnson said the issue would be resolved by the city engineer.

Resident Greg Terrien asked about the impact of flooding on wetlands and Baum said the project was not changing but directing water flow, and Johnson added that the owner could not increase the amount of flowing from the property.

Terrien also expressed concerns about the loss of trees and zoning regulations on group homes. Lowder explained that these facilities are exempt from local zoning and are regulated by the state.

“It’s not up to us,” Johnson said.

The council continued the discussion until March 14th.

The next meeting is scheduled for March 14, 2022. Residents can find previously recorded meetings on youtube.com/TewksburyTV. The meeting can be viewed on Comcast Channel 99 and Verizon Channel 33 or attend in person at City Hall.