New homes proposed off Nipmuc Road

New homes proposed off Nipmuc Road

SCITUATE - A new drainage system and neighbors' objections were highlights of the Plan Commission hearing on a Cranston company's proposal to create 13 residential house lots off Nipmuc Road.

Seeking more information, the commission continued the Annese Construction Inc. petition for preliminary approval without a decision during its July 15 meeting in Town Council chambers. It was the first time the seven-member commission saw the plans, members said.

David Annese, of Cranston, owner of the construction firm, presented plans for the 13 single-family house lots, gathered around a cul-de-sac at the end of an access road off Nipmuc Road, which would be widened. He declined to specify the proposed selling prices of the lots, or of the houses that he or other builders construct there.

Karen Welch, of the Providence consultant firm Commonwealth Engineers Inc., said 42 acres of the 86-acre site would go to the town for open space. One of the 13 house lots would have frontage on Nipmuc Road, with the others fronting the access road or cul-de-sac, she said.

Thirteen wells, one for each house, would provide drinking water.

She showed plans for "country drainage," a relatively new drainage system that relies on roadside swales with detention basins rather than the current common practice using catch basins and piping. Massachusetts towns have used the swale system for about 10 years, she said, but it is relatively new in Rhode Island.

According to the plans, the development would have two large detention basins in common areas and one small basin on each of the 13 house lots. Each home owner would be required to maintain the basin on his or her property. "They're not difficult to maintain," Welch said.

The drainage system is designed for a 100-year storm, in accordance with new state environmental regulations, Welch said. The system will include "specialized soil systems" to help clean the water, and in the final analysis, "there will be less water coming off the site" than before development, she maintained.

Neighbors and commission members wanted to know what would happen if a builder other than Annese did not include the basins in the house lots, and how assurances could be made that property owners would indeed keep the basins in good repair.

Annese said he intends to build the homes, so the basins won't be forgotten, and basins also would be required for a building permit.

Maintenance would be required in home owners' deeds, opening up the enforcement possibility of liens on the property.

Among those objecting were Nipmuc Road area residents John and Holly Dion, and Michelle and Thomas Delvecchio. Welch assured both couples that the drainage system would not affect their properties and she pointed out on the displayed map how the natural elevations as well as the drainage system would protect them.

No date was set for the continued hearing on Annese's petition.

In another matter, the commission is keeping a close eye on property at 55 Dexter Road, zoned for business, which has drawn the attention of the Town Council in the last two months after neighbors complained about a "junkyard" appearance. Town Council members want the lot cleaned up and have threatened fines.

Owner is James Favreau, of North Providence, who operates what neighbors say is a greenhouse that has morphed into a construction company. He needs a garage to store his equipment and his request for it was before the Plan Commission July 15, continued from June 17.

Town Engineer/Building Official David Provonsil reported that unregistered vehicles, two boats, a Dumpster and "miscellaneous equipment" were removed from the property since June, with one unregistered camper taken away and a second one slated for removal within a day or two.

The pre-fabricated building Favreau proposed would be a metal structure with a curved roof, similar to a Quonset Hut, according to comments made at the meeting. Favreau said he is willing to paint it any color, suggesting "beige" or "tan" would best fit the area. He also plans to erect a picket fence and plant landscaping, with most major work to be done by winter including erection of the building.

Neighbors opposed included Dexter Road area residents Randy Forge, Tom Borden and Raymond O'Donnell.

"I don't feel it will fit in with the neighborhood," O'Donnell told the commission. "I feel it will revert back to what it was, with enforcement being what it is in this town," Borden said.

"People in the neighborhood have nothing against business," Forge said, noting a business has been at the site for the last century. Neighbors just want the site cleaned up, he said.

"We have good properties in our neighborhood, and it's a nice road," Forge said. "We don't want Providence. We just want to keep the town the way it is."

The Plan Commission on a 7-0 vote granted preliminary approval to location of the garage and fence, but continued the petition to a later date when the color of the new building will be considered as well as "any other buffering items the board feels is reasonable" along with resolution of any outstanding zoning problems.

In other matters, the commission:

* Unanimously granted final approval to a subdivision of five house lots and an 800-foot extension of Heather Lane, proposed by Steve Marandola of Eastern Properties Inc.

John DiBona, a Cranston attorney representing Marandola, submitted a revised storm-water operation and management plan with easements that will be attached to the commission's approval, members said, to help guarantee enforcement. Both the town and home owners will be responsible for maintaining the system.

Marandola said work on the subdivision will begin within a month.

* The commission is in the process of preparing a final written decision for the town's first condominium development of 12 homes, which includes affordable units, at Woodland Terrace proposed by Ava Properties on Hartford Pike. Lou Polseno is the developer. Plan Commission Chairman Jeffrey C. Hanson and Provonsil are working on the written decision.