Update - Planning Board Meeting - January 25th 2022
Board Continues Highlander Estates Hearing
By Cynthia Drummond for BRVCA
January 25th 2022
RICHMOND — The Jan. 25 public hearing on the preliminary plan for the Highlander Estates housing subdivision application was continued to the Feb. 8 meeting, when it was discovered that Planning Board members had not been given copies of a document that is important to the proceedings. At issue is developer William McIntosh lV’s disagreement with several points made by Crossman Engineering in a peer review of the proposal. Town Planner Shaun Lacey said members had not received a memorandum, prepared by the developer’s attorney, Michael Resnick, that lists the items in the review with which his client agrees and those he opposes.
Board Chairman Philip Damicis said he preferred to continue the hearing until he and the other members had a chance to read the memorandum. “What I would prefer to do, at least, would be to continue the public hearing until we’ve had a chance to look at those documents and hopefully just address - primarily, I don’t think the board has any significant issues with the rest of the discussion tonight,” he said. “It’s pretty much related to just the peer review comments and even with that, just a few items.”
Resnick responded that he wasn’t pleased with the proposal to continue the hearing and asked that Lacey share the memorandum on his computer screen.
“We don’t feel good about it,” he said. “We think that Shaun [Lacey] should share that document on his screen.”
Damicis responded that he did not want to give members more information to digest when the meeting had already lasted for nearly three hours.
“I can’t put my board in a position where they‘re just going to be glazed over looking at this stuff and making, basically, arbitrary decisions,” he said.
Lacey added that he could not access the memorandum that evening. “Even if I had the ability to screen share, I’m not working on the correct laptop at tonight’s meeting,” he said. “I don’t have access to the memo. I’m very sorry about that. I can’t really explain how or why that happened.”
The board gave preliminary approval in June, 2021, for the eight-unit development at the intersection of Carolina Nooseneck Road and Route 138. The proposal calls for six market-priced and two affordable housing units on a 4.5-acre parcel.
The board expressed concerns at the June hearing regarding the drinking water supply and the impact that new wells for the densely-built subdivision might have on neighboring properties. The developer was asked to submit a hydrogeological study, which has been completed and shows that the new development would have ample drinking water and would not negatively impact neighbors’ wells.
Crossman engineering’s Steven Cabral, who conducted the peer review. has pointed out several possible issues, including the design of a detention pond and the storm water analysis. Cabral repeated his concerns at the Jan. 25 meeting.
“The land development regulations do require that there be no increase in peak flow exiting the property,” he said.
Cabral also recommended a flat landing be added to the sloping driveway, to prevent vehicles from sliding onto the road in slippery conditions. Resnick said he was disappointed that the discussion of Cabral’s peer review would prolong the public hearing.
“We had hoped that we could get this to a vote this evening,” he said. “We provided a lot of testimony, took a lot of time to respond to Mr. Cabral’s commentary and this is a big surprise.”
Damicis said he wanted the applicant’s memorandum on the peer review to be the topic of the Feb. 8 meeting.
“I’d like to focus the next meeting on just giving us the time to be able to review that memorandum, iron out some of these technical issues that are still unclear and be focus on that,” he said.
Damicis also noted that the board would not require the presence of the entire team of experts for the developer and that project engineer, Patricia Walker, would be the only expert who would have to attend.
Beaver River Valley Community Association
P.O. Box 10, Shannock, RI 02875
In the Jan. 25 story on the Planning Board hearing of the Highlander Estates application, it was incorrectly stated that board members had not received a memorandum, prepared by the developer’s attorney, that lists the items in the peer review with which his client agrees and those he opposes.
The story should have stated that Planning Board members had not received the Crossman Engineering peer review of the application.