Falmouth board questions proposed development

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FALMOUTH — A proposed 25-unit subdivision off Blackstrap Road prompted concerns and questions from the Planning Board at its Jan. 3 meeting, including whether the developer should scale back the number of dwellings.

It was the board’s first look at the development proposal under what is known as a pre-application sketch plan review. Under this process the developer provides a general overview of the proposed project in order to get initial feedback from the board.

In this case the developer, James Cummings, was looking to see whether the board would be flexible about the rules that govern conservation overlay districts so some of the proposed open space could be included within lot lines for the buildings.

The proposal did not go over well with board members.

Chairman Jay Chace indicated he would prefer Cummings keep to the required 100-foot setback for the conservation area, “otherwise you’ll really need to sell it,” in terms of convincing the board to provide a waiver to that rule, he said.

Although the 18-acre project site is within Falmouth’s residential growth zoning district, it is bound on one side by a resource protection shoreland zone, and the entire site is within one of the town’s resource conservation overlay districts. It also includes some steep slopes that would make development difficult.

According to materials provided to the Planning Board before the Tuesday meeting, the site is mostly wooded with a gravel access road. The development plan, as presented, would be to build 13 single-family homes and six two-family buildings that would be managed by a condominium association.

Under the project plan a new access road would be built that would connect Blackstrap Road to Brookfield Road. The site does have access to public water, but individual septic systems would be required for each unit.

The goal would also be to conserve a large part of the site as common open space that would include a proposed trail system.

At the end of the project presentation, Chace suggested that the developer carefully review the town’s ordinances and consider speaking with Town Planner Ethan Croce further before coming back to the Planning Board for official site plan review.

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KIrishCollins.