Richmond Planning Board Meeting - January 25th 2022
William McIntosh IV to Construct an Eight Unit Residential Subdivision on 4.5 Acres
By Cynthia Drummond for BRVCA
January 25th 2022
Highlander Estates Preliminary Plan Approved
RICHMOND — At the Feb. 8 continuation of a public hearing that began on Jan. 25, members of the Planning Board approved the preliminary plan for an eight-unit subdivision at 3 Carolina Nooseneck Road.
Submitted by West Kingston developer William McIntosh lV, the proposal calls for six market-priced and two affordable housing units on a 4.5-acre parcel, divided into three lots, at the intersection of Carolina Nooseneck Road and Route 138.
Board Chairman Philip Damicis explained that the board had been waiting for a memorandum on a peer review of the project conducted for the town by Crossman Engineering.
“We didn’t have it in our packets last time,” he said. “We agreed that we would limit the discussion at this meeting to the grading, drainage and stormwater management, so I’d like to stick to that topic tonight.”
Town Planner Shaun Lacey added that the focus of the meeting would be the peer review comments and the developer’s responses.
“You’ll recall that at the January 25 public hearing, that most recent memorandum had not been shared with you, but it has since been shared, along with the applicant’s peer review response letter as well,” he said.
Lacey also noted that a draft decision approving the project was included in the packet.
Damicis proposed that the board consider each of the items raised by Crossman engineer Steven Cabral, who conducted the peer review, and also the developer’s responses.
The developer has agreed to make several changes at final approval. Those include a change to the grading of the driveway to direct runoff to the catch basin at the top of the driveway, the addition of a berm on both sides of the driveway to prevent erosion, modifications to the school bus waiting area to allow vehicles to enter and exit more easily, and “spot grades” to ensure that all runoff from the driveway will be channeled to the infiltration pond. In addition, the catch basins at the lower infiltration pond will be four-foot deep sump catch basins with hoods, and high- capacity catch basin inlets will be added to the shared driveway. Cabral noted that the developer’s hydrological modeling had not included an analysis of future peak stormwater flow, so he had decided to do some additional modeling the previous weekend and had determined that the detention ponds, as designed, would not be large enough to accommodate excess flow from a severe storm.
“We actually took the time to do a modeling of a 24-hour Type 3 storm through the infiltration ponds, in accordance with the town ordinance, and we did find that there would be an increase in peak flow into the town roadway,” he said. “...The applicant did a good job modeling the increased volume and that was the basis for their infiltration pond sizing, but the deficiency, and the main concern that we have, is that that there is no modeling of the entire hydrography through the infiltration basins, therefore, there’s no analysis as to what the future peak flow will be.” Damicis said he was concerned about the large difference between the capacity of the infiltration basins as designed and the projected volume of water at peak flow during severe storms.
“We have a total on-site storage provided by drainage that measures 26,000 cubic feet, roughly, and we’ve got a proposed runoff of 87,000? That sounds pretty significant,” he said.
Cabral said the property could accommodate larger infiltration basins and agreed to work with project engineer Patricia Walker to modify the design.
Michael Resnick, the attorney representing the developer, said he would appreciate Cabral’s assistance.
“We would welcome the opportunity to work with Mr. Cabral, Ms. Walker, and develop a fix for this and we would request that’s something that we’d be able to do at final, [approval] administratively,” he said. Cabral also proposed, and the applicant accepted, an increase in the diameter of the pipes to the catch basins from eight inches to 12 inches. Town Solicitor Karen Ellsworth proposed that she and Lacey add those conditions discussed at the hearing which were not in the draft decision and the board agreed to approve the preliminary plan, with the inclusion of the additional conditions.
Solar Application Moves Forward
The development plan review for a 250-KW ground-mounted solar energy system on less than one acre of a parcel located at 26 West Shannock Road received Planning Board approval.
Owned by OSE Realty and Melissa Kisilywicz, the 11.5-acre property already features another 250-KW solar facility, approved by the town in 2018, as well as a truck maintenance building. The property is zoned “light industrial,” and solar energy systems are permitted by right. Tree-clearing would be confined to one third of an acre.
Scott Milnes of the firm, Econox Renewables Inc., who presented the application with project engineer Andrew Vardakis, explained that the three transmission poles, which Damicis worried would be highly visible, would be located deeper within the site.
“Is there a way to reduce that, or minimize the impact?” he said.
“N. Grid [National Grid] does their interconnection process,” Milnes said. “They brought some new stuff there for the first project, but they said they wanted to add that one additional pole, just where it was, so we went back and forth a little bit, so we really can’t control what N. Grid tells us to do, and we’re required to have a customer delivery pole.” “Can you move that pole into the site more, so it’s not as conspicuous, I guess?” Damicis said.
Milnes responded that the poles in question would not be visible from the road.
“It’s pretty deep into the site and you’re not going to get a visual of these poles on the road when you’re coming in,” he said.
The board also had questions about the decommissioning of the array in 20 or 25 years.
Lacey explained that the amount to be held for the decommissioning would be $9,016, which will be paid to the town in cash.
Before the board approved the development plan, two conditions of approval were added: the decommissioning fee and a provision requiring the use of a local pollinator loam and seed mix under the solar panels.
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