Hinesburg development review board greenlights North and Observatory, LLC

Following three Hinesburg Development Review Board meetings, presentations by a developer, and numerous comments from local residents, board members approved the sketch plan application for North and Observatory, LLC.

The board issued its decision March 15 in a four-page document. The 5-0 vote to approve the application, which was presented by applicant Steve Pcolar, came after holding deliberative, or private, sessions following regularly-scheduled Development Review Board meetings. Members Dennis Place, Dick Jordan, Sarah Murphy, Ted Bloomhardt, and John Lyman participated in the decision, with Murphy signing the document, according to information from the Hinesburg Planning and Zoning Dept.

The board reviewed the sketch plan on Dec. 1, 2015, Jan. 5, 2016, and Feb. 2. The heart and soul of the project includes a nine-lot, eight-unit subdivision found in the Rural Residential One Zoning District. Comprised of about 63 acres, the parcel, which is owned by RB and RH Goodrich, LLC, sits on the west side of North Road at the intersection of Observatory Road.

The DRB emphasized four major points during its approval process. The board mandated that the developer provide all documentation necessary for preliminary plat review. That document must outline a perimeter survey of the existing lot and proposed lot lines, building envelopes for new lots, forest clearing limits, and easements and right-of-ways, detailing the location of an array of shared infrastructure.

Also, information on utilities should be detailed, information on wells should outline adequate water supply, and a storm water and erosion control plan should be included. The board also asked for narrative detailing proposed improvements for Observatory Road and driveway locations for each developed lot.

The final point in the document requires language that clarifies Homeowners’ Association responsibilities, and easements and rights-of-way, showcasing locations and rights to an array of shared infrastructure.

During the hearing process, a number of residents criticized the plan. Concerns voiced at the meetings included potential impacts to the local drinking water supply. Henry Bennis, who attended the Jan. 5 meeting, expressed concern about the fate of the local wildlife habitat if the project were built.

During the Feb. 2 meeting, Rod Rivers told the board he was worried about his spring and potential impacts from water runoff. He was also concerned about possible conflicts with future neighbors about noise from his sugarhouse and its pump.

An appeal to the state Environmental Court of the DRB’s decision must be lodged 30 days from the date the decision was signed, according to the Hinesburg Planning and Zoning Department.