Planning Board OKs Lot Consolidation Paving Way for New GELD Facility on Station Ave
Groton Electric Light Department Attorney Robert Collins presented the Planning Board with two ANR (Approval Not Required) lots; one for a consolidation of parcels on Station Ave., and the second to donate some GELD-owned land on Rte.40 to the Conservation Commission.
Collins said that the land on Station Ave. was composed of a "strange collection of four parcels" and the ANR would consolidate them into two parcels and, "clean up a peculiar patchwork of ownership." In addition to two older purchases of land, there are two more recent acquisitions, Downes property and MacGregor property. Consolidation would result in formation of one lot containing 1.55 acres and the second lot 1.81 acres. Any remaining land from this could be used for a park or for additional parking for the Rail Trail, Collins said.
Usually, an endorsement vote for an ANR is a formality by the Board, but Planner Scott Wilson stated, "I will not vote to facilitate GELD's insistence to stay on Station Ave. after all the plans to develop it. I suppose my protest is pointless, but I want to state my feelings."
On the second proposal from GELD, the ANR carves out two acres of their land near the high tension lines on Rte. 40 to donate to the Conservation Commission to augment their existing land in that area Wilson again said he was "not thrilled that GELD was staying on Station Avenue" but in the end he joined his colleagues in voting for the GELD ANRs.
Lost Lake Sewer Articles
Lost Lake Sewer Committee members Carol Quinn and Angela Garger asked the Board to support their articles at the Fall Town Meeting Oct. 15. Quinn said that the article requesting $12.9M for a municipal sewer for 341 Lost Lake residents and the commercial area of the Four Corners, would eliminate the need for onsite wastewater systems and reduce nutrient loading into the lake. Quinn reported, "We met with the commercial developers this week and it was positive. We expect that they will pick up maybe 33 percent which will bring the cost to homeowners on the lake to 47 percent. There was one commercial property, New England Power which has a new person working on this, who will get back to us."
Quinn said that their plan is to go to Annual Town Meeting with a financing proposal of a two percent loan for 20 years. "The town will contribute $196K per year, but the town is already contributing $100K (for work that has been done by the consultants) so it's not significant."
Planner Jason Parent asked if the Four Corners Neighborhood Association had been contacted by the Committee and Quinn said, "We haven't talked to them."
Planner Wilson asked if this proposal would meet 100 percent of the environmental needs at the lake before considering the Four Corners. Quinn replied that the state determines economic development need. Land Use Director Michelle Collette added that the Four Corners area is in a water resource protection district and that the systems that are already there have a limited life expectancy.
Planning Board Chairman John Giger said, "I am not comfortable with the cost charge. It's changing weekly. The commercial area is contributing 33 percent now. It seems that we should reduce the town's contribution." Quinn responded that with the town contribution of 25 percent, the Four Corners at 33 percent "We would get more than a 50 percent reduction for the Lost Lake residents."
Quinn added that there was some confusion from their first meeting with Selectmen, as to whether the Board agreed to 25 percent of the $12.9M or $150K per year or $196K per year.
Giger commented, "There is all kinds of fluidity here. I don't want the Lost Lake residents paying more than 50 percent. Any extra recovery should be shared."
Parent and Wilson both expressed concern for costs for the Lost Lake residents. Quinn said that costs estimates are "preliminary. It won't be until we go out to bid then to the end of construction that the betterments will be determined."
Following further discussion, the Planning Board voted to support formation of a district map and boundaries for the Lost Lake sewer; for borrowing authorization for $12.9M and for the inter-municipal agreement with Ayer.
Master Plan Update
The Comprehensive Master Plan Phase 2 Implementation Plan will move to the forefront as the Board plans to return to their monthly meetings with Judi Barrett of Community Opportunities Group to begin to implement plans for the village businesses, and changes in parking in town center. Land Use Director Michelle Collette said it "is time to move forward with the Town Center Overlay District and the broader Phase 2 plan."