WESTERLY — The developer of a 24-unit condominium development under construction on South Drive was asked this week to provide plans that more clearly display provisions the developer and Planning Board agreed to in August.
During the board's meeting on Tuesday, Scott D. Levesque, the board's lawyer, said plans filed earlier in the day on behalf of the developer did reflect agreements on how rock-crushing, seeding, and road construction will be handled.
South Drive Development Inc., an affiliate of Sacco Enterprises Inc. of Charlestown, stopped work on the project after questions about the sequence of site preparation performed at the 19 South Drive site came to light in April, when the company appeared before the board following the issuance of a notice of violation issued by former Town Planner Rui Almeida. The notice was issued after town officials received complaints about erosion and runoff that suggested that the developer had not followed the approved construction sequence.
In August, after months of discussions between George Comolli and Steven Surdut, lawyers for the developers, and Levesque and town staff, South Drive Development Inc. agreed to new conditions that were outlined in an amendment to the board's original decision approving the project. The original decision was issued in March 2018. The town averred that the site work violated terms of the board's original approval decision and the original approved plans. Comolli and Surdut said the work followed the plans and that the approval decision was flawed.
Levesque, on Tuesday, said the new documents filed by Surdut did not discuss the "conditions put in place for rock-crushing that this board was very careful to design." Under the agreed-to rock-crushing protocol, crushing can never occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day and must be completed before the third phase of construction begins.
According to Levesque, the new documents also failed to state the board's stipulation that grass seeding for the entire development be done during the first phase of construction. "In fact some of it could possibly contradict that plan," Levesque said.
The new documents also fail to properly describe the board's expectation that all road and infrastructure work, with the exception of the final road pavement course, be completed during the first phase, he said.
"In fact some of the terminology in the [new] plan would suggest otherwise," Levesque said.
Finally, Levesque said, the new plans fail to describe the board''s expectation that a condominium association be established "so that the board and this town need not be concerned about having to [accept] the infrastructure at some point in the future," Levesque said.
Surdut said his client is committed to following the amended decision approved by the board in April.
"We're not trying to get away from that decision in any way. We are very comfortable with that," Surdut said.
According to Surdut, his clients were delayed in fully responding to the board's requests because a surveyor working on the project was away for two weeks and because work on the project involves several professionals who must review each other's work.
South Drive Development Inc. is eager to move forward and working diligently to update the plans, Surdut said.
Board member Justin Hopkins, an architect, asked Surdut to submit plans that clearly distinguish between the original approved plan and the amendments.
"One cannot discern what revisions have been made on the revised documents without having a side-by-side comparison, so it's helpful and it's a standard practice to provide revision clouds and tabs to show the person looking at the final documents what was revised," Hopkins said.
Surdut said he believed the work on the documents could be completed in time for the board's meeting in November. "We just need to properly categorize it and put it on paper within this very large plan set," Surdut said.
The project was submitted and approved under the state's comprehensive permit law, which allows developers leeway from local zoning density requirements in return for a pledge that a percentage of housing units will meet low- and moderate-income guidelines.