APRIL 21, 2021
Ms. Ellis, Chair, called the meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Commission members Owen Bailey, Anthony D’Elia, Jeffrey Grotsky and John Hutchison and Jane Richman, Kees de Mooy (Zoning Administrator), Jennifer Mulligan (Town Clerk) and guests.
Ms. Ellis asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the January 20, 2021meeting minutes. Mr. Grotsky moved to approve the minutes of the January 20, 2021 Planning Commission meeting as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Hutchison and carried unanimously.
LAWRENCE WETLAND PRESERVE
Mr. Hutchison stated that he would recuse himself from the project as he was architect for the building.
Mr. Drew McMullen was present for the project. He said that the area was fast lands and designated wetlands for a small scale wetland preserve for pre-K through 6th grade with limited public access for the public. ADA trails and a boardwalk would be constructed along with a 1200 sq.ft. conditioned building for programs. A small road will allow firetruck access to the building. He said that their goal was to restore and put the property back to a more natural state. There would be 300-400 trees planted for a woodland buffer. He said that he wants to set off the property for when Stepne is built out.
Mr. McMullen stated that he would encourage native species and discourage non-native species. He said that they would like to get the work completed in 2022.
Mr. Miles Bernard, landscape architect, was present to discuss the overall site plan. He showed an aerial photo orienting the Commission to the site. He said that Mill Street will be extended becoming the fire lane access to the building. The central feature of the property was an existing pond. He said that most of the land was phragmites and open grassland.
Mr. Barnard showed the proposed plan, noting that there will be two (2) trail systems on the property, a boardwalk allowing people through the wetland areas and a shorter way to access the trail from the rail trail site, and compacted stone dust trails running around the pond to the building.
Mr. Barnard stated that there will be two (2) docks to allow for netting by students and there will be warm season meadow areas planted that would build off existing areas. He showed where the classroom space will be located.
Mr. Barnard stated that MDE is processing the permits for the area within the non-tidal wetland. He said that around the perimeter of the site they were proposing to turn it into a woodland buffer with native trees and shrubs to insulate the site from the surroundings.
Mr. de Mooy asked when work on the road would begin. Mr. McMullen stated that removal of the Leyland Cypress would be at the discretion of the contracting company and the RFP for the project is due to go out next week.
Mr. Hutchison, architect for the building, stated that the 1200 sq.ft. building proposed for the site was at the end of the fire lane. He said that there will be two (2) small classrooms with deck area for outdoor classes. He said that the building was designed to be open with large garage doors facing the pond in nice weather, although it will be air conditioned as well.
Mr. Hutchison stated that ADA restrooms are required and showed where they will be in the building. He also showed areas of the deck. He said that the pond will be visible through Loblolly Pines, which will also provide further screening of the building from Quaker Neck Road. Gates will be installed at each entry to the property and surveillance cameras will be installed. There will be no lighting at night in keeping with the idea of a nature preserve.
Mr. de Mooy stated that one of the residential homes on the north side of the trail where the entry to the preserve will be are going to be demolished.
Mr. McMullen stated that this will primarily be a classroom for school children, but they are discussing opening it to the public during daytime hours when classes are not planned.
Mr. D’Elia asked if there was consideration given to the site if South Cross Street or Stepne did build out in terms of stormwater runoff or growth in the size of the pond. Mr. McMullen stated that this seemed to be a ground water pond, not changing with the weather. He said that any runoff they have seen is from their own property and they were not changing the hydrology. Mr. McMullen stated that he was not too concerned that any building would change the pond as it was man made at some point and fed by an aquifer. Mr. Barnard agreed, adding that was why they were adding the tree buffer as soon as possible.
Mr. de Mooy stated that any residential development that would take place would be required to respect the property when seeking approval from the Planning Commission.
Ms. Ellis asked if the Town would be expected to take over the road that they were building to access the property. Mr. McMullen stated that any of the three (3) bordering property owners have the right to build the road out at their expense and maintenance. If the Stepne property was developed and this road was further built out it would become a Town Street. Mr. de Mooy stated that the degree of build out in the future could not be determined at this time.
Mr. Hutchison stated that the main sewer line runs through an easement at Mill Street and that was where they would tap in for sewer.
Mr. McMullen stated that it was his understanding that there were no other reviews to go through from this standpoint. Mr. de Mooy stated that was correct. Mr. Hutchison stated that the Fire Marshal has been presented with the site plan and they have a preliminary approval. They were waiting on MDE approval.
Mr. Bailey moved to approve plans as submitted outside of the non-tidal wetland, was seconded by Mr. D’Elia and carried unanimously.
Mr. D’Elia moved to approve plans as submitted inside the non-tidal wetlands with approval of MDE, was seconded by Mr. Bailey and carried unanimously.
There being no further business, Mr. Hutchison moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:16 p.m., was seconded by Mr. D’Elia and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Morgan Ellis
Town Clerk Chair