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Spy Pond Lane hearing continued again

Vacant home at 47 Spy Pond Lane. / Bob Sprague photoVacant home at 47 Spy Pond Lane in the summer of 2016. / Bob Sprague photo

UPDATED, Nov. 15: The continuing discussion about a housing plan for 47 Spy Pond Lane continued some more -- at 8:15 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, in the O'Neill Room, police station, 112 Mystic St. 

The Scott Seaver team, the abutters of 47 Spy Pond Lane, Town Counsel Doug Heim and 35 members of the public filled the mural room of the Senior Center at the Nov. 1 Conservation Commission continuance hearing. This one lasted almost two hours.

At the last meeting on Oct. 18, the ConCom asked that developer Seaver return with a reasonable alternative to his existing plans for two houses intruding into the resource area. Instead, Seaver’s attorney, Matthew Watsky, and Mary Treadou, his wetlands consultant, presented details of the previously discussed filtration/drainage system. They also explained why they were not willing to relocate a sewer pipe to allow for one large house and why they would not revert to a one-car garage for each house.

One commissioner asked to have more accurate square-footage numbers in the documents.

Another revisited the option of one-car garages. Another asked why Seaver couldn’t build two houses totally outside the buffer zone.

Among other questions and discussion points, a commissioner also requested that they stop discussing the plans in terms of profitability.

Developer can reapply

Chairman Nathaniel Stevens reminded all that Seaver could reapply to the commission each time he slightly revised the plans so that new applications could continue.

The public comments began with Elizabeth Pyle, lawyer for the abutters. She explained that her clients expected that something would eventually be built on the subdivided lot but that the right project would conform to the ConCom’s regulations.

She noted that no alternative project had been submitted and that the current plan does not minimize resource alteration.

Karen Grossman of Friends of Spy Pond Park expressed concern about damage to the resource area and pond during construction.

Two others asked about potential acquisition of the land by the Arlington Land Trust, asked for the definition of “reasonable alternative” and wondered why Seaver did not present an alternative, as requested.

Again, no members of the public spoke in support of Seaver’s plans.

In closing, Seaver considered preparing an analysis of one-car garages for the next hearing; however, It was unclear whether he definitely committed to it.

The abutters remained concerned that Seaver provided no reasonable alternative plans at this hearing, as requested by ConCom on Oct. 18.

A plan for the property is before the Conservation Commission for a third time, even though the board issued unanimous denials for development that did not fulfill the town’s requirements, in 2017 and in 2018. After Seaver sued the town, he reached a conditional settlement agreement with the ConCom. Under it, the developer agreed to submit an amended plan to the commission and delay the company's appeal of its previously denied plan.

Oct. 19, 2018: 2nd hearing on revised 47 Spy Pond Lane plan held

Sept.-Oct., 2016: At Spy Pond's edge, two-home plan rejected by Concom
July-Sept., 2016: Neighbors ask Concom to abide by buffer-zone rules for Spy Pond development
Conservation Commission regulations for wetland protection
Concom also administers the state Wetlands Protection Act (includes 100-foot buffer zone)

This news summary by Alice Trexler was published Monday, Nov, 5, 2018 Heijung Kim contributed to this report. Both are neighbors of the proposed project. It was updated Nov. 15, to add specific agenda time.

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