The Public Works Commission met at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 14, 2005, in the Conference Room at 141 Keyes Road, Concord, Massachusetts. Pursuant to Chapter 303 of the Acts of 1975, notice of the above meeting was duly filed with the Town Clerk, Town House, Monument Square, Concord, Massachusetts.
Jeffrey S. Wieand, Chair
Elissa J. Brown
Judith K. Sprott
Paul A. Mahoney
Sara S. Schnitzer, Vice Chair
William B. Edgerton, Public Works Director
Alan Cathcart, Water & Sewer Superintendent
John Woodsmall, Public Works Engineer
Judith A. Terry, Board of Selectmen
Judith Quanrud, Finance Committee
Frances Neville, League of Women Voters
John A. Neville, 24 Magnolia Street
Raymond Burke, 332 Bedford Street
Peter Farrow, 69 Pleasant Street
A: ACTION ITEMS
A-1 through A-4 - The meeting was convened at 7:32 p.m. by Chair Wieand.
The November 9, 2005 minutes were unanimously approved as amended.
The Commission reaffirmed its future meeting schedule:
January 11, 2006
February 8, 2006
D: DISCUSSION/ACTION ITEMS
7:40 p.m. D-1: ROW Appeal 332-334 Bedford Street
Mr. Woodsmall, Public Works Engineer and ROW Program leader briefed the Commission on the facts of this appeal-that an old cement wall that encroached within the right of way had been removed under the direction of the property owner, Mr. Burke, with the intention of replacing the wall in place with a new wall. While the old wall, part of which was within the right of way, was "grandfathered" according to Mr. Woodsmall, once gone, the new wall needed to be relocated approximately two feet back to be entirely outside the town right of way.
Chair Wieand asked Mr. Woodsmall about the "grandfathering". If the original wall was "grandfathered", what about repairing or replacing the wall? Mr. Woodsmall said that minor repairs to the original wall were permissible in his opinion, but not major repairs or its replacement if the wall or portions of the wall remained within the right of way.
Mr. Burke, the property owner, explained to the Commission how the old wall was an eyesore and the new wall, along with other planned improvements to his property in front of his house would enhance the appearance and use of his property.
After Mr. Burke and members of the Commission explored what was being proposed and where, Chair Wieand asked Mr. Burke about pulling the wall back a couple of feet. Mr. Burke agreed with this idea and said he would work with CPW engineering to help make sure the new wall was outside the right of way. Mr. Burke then voluntarily withdrew his appeal.
D-2: Sewer Connection Appeal, Ripley Hill Road
Mr. Edgerton explained that the appellant had failed to provide the necessary written information and explanation of why an exception to the Sewer Rules and Regulations should be considered by the Commission, and that the appellant's representative had requested that the case be deferred until the January Commission meeting.
The Commission agreed to this request.
D-4: Director's Report
December 9th Snow storm
Mr. Edgerton commended the CPW snow fighting team's efforts in removing snow and ice from the Town's roads and sidewalks during the recent 17-inch snowstorm. The Commissioners concurred.
Lien Surcharge on Water & Sewer Bills
Mr. Edgerton highlighted the 1986 PWC minutes enclosed in the packet where a prior Commission voted unanimously to adopt a Lien Surcharge Policy. The policy stated that accounts for water and sewer bills referred to the Board of Assessors for inclusion in the town's property tax bill should have a lien surcharge of 10 percent or a minimum of $25.00 added to the account. He suggested that the Commissioners put their copy of the 1986 minutes along with the revised index in their Commission Notebooks at the back of tab 20.
Flint's Bridge 25% Design Hearing
Mr. Edgerton reported that the 25% Design Hearing held by MassHighway on December 13th went very well and that there appeared to be a consensus by those attending the hearing that the overall design preserved the most important features of the existing bridge-the stone arches, and needed to be completed and constructed as soon as possible. He said there also appeared to be a consensus favoring a metal railing design that looked somewhat similar to the current railing but met federal highway crash standards. He said the one area of concern not fully addressed was the need for greater pedestrian access approaching and on the bridge. He said the bridge deck as designed would be approximately 2-feet wider to better accommodate pedestrian and bicycle use. In addition the bridge rehabilitation would be structurally strong enough to support a
future cantilevered sidewalk. Unfortunately major site constraints, along with environmental, permitting, and aesthetic challenges associated with adding a sidewalk would likely prevent the bridge from being improved in the near future. He said the sidewalk design issue among other concerns had derailed the last design effort to repair the bridge in the early 1990's.
Mr. Edgerton commended Jim Shuris, Town Engineer, for his leadership in shepherding the project along. The estimated project cost is 2.5 million dollars, funded 80%/20% from federal and state funds. While not at all certain, Mr. Edgerton said construction could commence as early as next summer.
8:10 p.m. D-3: 129 Old Bedford Road
Peter Farrow, President of Concord Housing Trust, Inc. explained the CHT's plans to construct two duplex houses located behind the Burke house at 129 Old Bedford Road. Recently the town installed a sewer main in front of the existing house. He said CHT wanted to purchase the property, sell off the existing house and subdivide the land in back to construct four affordable housing units. He said he knew the request presented certain policy questions related to the Town's Sewer Rules and Regulations and in particular, the "one parcel, one connection rule".
In his remarks Mr. Farrow highlighted several reasons why the Commission should favorably consider his plan including: 1) that all four units were to be affordable and therefore consistent with the Town's affordable housing goals; 2) that the property in back was very wet and wouldn't be able to be served by an on-site Title 5 system; 3) that the site constraints helped make the parcel more affordable for the CHT to purchase for this purpose; 4) that the project concept originated from the Town Manager and that it has strong support by the Board of Selectmen; and 5) that the town support and involvement, and CHT's non-profit status, all distinguished and differentiated the project from other developments requesting a sewer connection that might be proposed elsewhere in Concord.
Commissioners, while voicing their support for affordable housing, articulated several concerns and questions including: 1) the need for the proponent to fully address the relevant Sewer Rules and Regulations and document and present the case for why the project was "in the best interests of the Town"; 2) how to evaluate the merits of the project in light of the core "growth neutral" goal imbedded in the Town's Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan (CWMP) and the Sewer Rules and Regulations as the proposed project according to the applicant appears infeasible without sewer service due to high groundwater conditions; 3) how best to obtain public input from stakeholders, abutters, and others so that the process is "rational, transparent and fair"; 4) the need to fully address how the proposed project "fits" relative to the goals of the CWMP and the Town's Comprehensive Long Range Plan; 5) the need to document the Town's involvement in the project; and 6) how the Commission's review
of this project should be coordinated with the reviews of the other permitting boards and commissions.
The Commission stated a desire to find the appropriate balance between the community interests previously stated with their charge to manage the known constraint of the State's flow limit at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Ms. Terry said the Board of Selectmen was of the unanimous opinion that the proposed project was important to the Town and that it should be supported.
It was the consensus of the Commissioners that based upon the scale of the conceptual plan proposed and associated Town "interest" raised they were open to the ideas and arguments being put forth by Mr. Farrow but more consideration and information were both appropriate and necessary. Therefore, the Commission couldn't guarantee at this time that when all the information and input was obtained that the requested sewer connection would be approved. They thanked Mr. Farrow for coming and briefing the Commission about the project.
D-4: Director's Report (Continued)
Draft Warrant Articles
Mr. Edgerton reminded the Commission that of the draft of PWC-related articles in the packet, the Road's article and possibly the Warner's Pond Dam article would need to be presented by the Commission at next spring's Annual Town Meeting.
"Entering Concord-A History of Public Affairs 1850 - 2000"
Mr. Edgerton brought to the Commission's attention the recent publication of Sarah Chapin's new book "Entering Concord" and that it was on sale at the Concord BookShop. Ms. Chapin was author of an earlier publication "A Brief History of Public Works, Utilities, Planning and Land Management in Concord, Massachusetts" written for the dedication of the completion of the Keyes Road site improvements on October 14, 2000.
PWC Meetings Starting Time
Mr. Edgerton suggested that the Commission consider having future meetings starting at 7PM rather than 7:30PM. He said three recent public meetings-the Main Street meeting, the Warner's Pond Dam meeting, and the Flint's Bridge hearing, started at 7PM and seemed to go well. He said an earlier start time would get everyone home earlier and help CPW support staff that normally were at work since 7:30-8AM and stayed at work to attend the meetings. Most but not all of the Commissioners present were favorably inclined to try out the idea. It was decided that the January meeting would start at 7PM and the change would be considered further when all Commissioners were present.
D-5: Commissioners' Comments
Traffic flow on Hubbard Street near Post Office
Chair Wieand observed that due to the removal of the mailboxes on Hubbard Street next to the Post Office parked cars using the new space made two-way traffic difficult. Ms. Terry commented that members of the Board of Selectmen had also thought this was a problem and that Chief Wetherbee had been asked to follow-up.
Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Advisory Committee Meeting
Commissioner Brown said she would be attending the first meeting of the BFRT Committee this coming Friday. The Board of Selectmen recently appointed Ms. Brown as the Commission's representative on this newly formed Committee.
D-6: Public Comments - There were none.
ADJOURNED: 9:23 p.m.
Respectfully submitted, Approved,
William B. Edgerton, Director Jeffrey S. Wieand, Chair
Concord Public Works Public Works Commission