Subdivision discussion sizzles at Planning Board meeting

Jul 24, 2018

A subdivision proposed for 15 Highland Avenue aroused heated public comment at the Planning Board Hearing on July 23.

The property would include two housing lots, and is being proposed through the town's Open Space Residential Development guidelines, which allows properties to be clustered closer together in exchange for preserving unused chunks of land as open space.

Open space does not necessarily mean the property is open to the public, however, which was a major point of contention with the project, as neighbors worried that public access could cause encroachment on their pricey landscaping, disturb a nearby cemetery, increase parking on the street, or otherwise disturb the peace.

Thomas Harding, the site designer, said that the family has no plans of making the open space land public access unless it is made a condition of the granting of the permit to build.

Options discussed include sharing a gated driveway or moving the open space to be exclusively on the lake, rather than by the road.

Frequently brought up was the 175 acres of publicly accessible open space owned by the Church just down the road, which includes access to Noquochoke Lake.

Harding will redesign the site, and the new plan will be discussed at the September 10 meeting of the planning board at 7 p.m.

The subdivision currently proposed at a lot on Rockland Street has been withdrawn, although another application could be submitted.