Westerly Planning Board prepared to approve South Drive condo project

Westerly Planning Board prepared to approve South Drive condo project

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WESTERLY — The Planning Board will consider approving plans for a 24-unit condominium development off South Drive during its February meeting.

The board directed planning and zoning office staff to draft proposed language for an approval motion for the project proposed by South Drive Development, a subsidiary of Sacco Enterprises of Charlestown, at the conclusion of the board’s meeting Tuesday night. The public hearing portion of the board’s consideration of the project will remain open, meaning interested parties will have an opportunity to address the board during the Feb. 20 meeting.

The developer submitted its application under the state's comprehensive permit law, which allows developers to bypass density requirements and other local zoning regulations in return for agreeing to provide a percentage of affordable and moderately priced units. In this case, six lower-cost units are required and will be established through deed restrictions that will be monitored by the Westerly Housing Authority.

On Tuesday project engineer C.J. Doyle reviewed a phasing and construction schedule developed in conjunction with Town Engineer Sheila McGauvran. Adherence to the plan will “mitigate stormwater and sediment from leaving the site,”  Doyle said. McGauvran had previously raised concerns about the potential for flooding due to the steep slope of the property.

The schedule calls for four phases, starting with construction of a portion of  the entrance road and infrastucture, followed by construction of 10 units, followed by completion of the road and infrastructure and then construction of the remainder of the units. An emergency access road off Beach Street will be constructed during the first phase.  Sediment and erosion control basins will remain functional on the site until the project is completed, Doyle said.

McGauvran and her staff have reviewed the plans extensively as they have evolved “to allay the concerns about the subsurface drainage that is so critical to this working,” she said.

A $2.2 million performance bond will be required of the developer, town officials said.

Blasting on the site will be limited to between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. A watering protocol will be employed to keep dust down. Town and emergency officials will be notified 24 hours before blasts and the developer will also notify residents who sign up for e-mail notifications, said Steve Surdut, a lawyer who represents Sacco Enterprises. Jack Armstrong, board chairman, asked if the developer had agreed to limitations on the size of blasts. Surdot responded by saying blasting is regulated by the state fire marshal’s office.

Susan Champouillon said she was concerned blasting for the project would damage her Crestview Drive condominium. She also questioned whether residents of the proposed new neighborhood will be capable of walking up the steep hill. Robert Callahan, whose Juniper Lane residence abuts the site, also noted the steepness of the hill and raised concerns similar to Champouillon’s.

George Comolli, Surdot’s boss, said he was initially reluctant when the Saccos first discussed their plans with him due to the slope of the property. But Comolli said he came to realize the Saccos had successfully built a development on Butterfly Drive with a similar slope and said the company was committed to providing a development that is an asset and does not negatively impact the surrounding area.



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