Monday, February 2, 2009

Pipelines and hotdogs

Most of the Commissions and Boards which influence and regulate land use decisions are meeting in the next 10 days. They will be discussing everything from whether a Hot Dog stand should be allowed on property at South Main and Randolph Road to whether Kleen Energy should be allowed to bring a Low Sulfur Diesel Pipeline alongside the Connecticut River. The Planning Department has made information about all of these land use decisions readily available to the public via its web site. This information includes not only site plan drawings, but in some cases the correspondence and legal background relating to the issue under consideration.

On Wednesday at 7:00PM, Inland Wetlands will hold public hearings on two different proposed pipelines for bringing fuel to the Kleen Energy power plant on River Road (Eye stories here and here), and will make rulings on a Newfield Street multi-family housing extension request and tennis courts at Xavier High School.
  • Kleen Energy. Buckeye Partners is proposing a low sulfur diesel pipeline to run from the Arrigoni Bridge, under existing roadways to the power plant. It will cross wetlands near the end of its path, between Bow Lane and River Road. The details of the wetland crossing are here, for a map of the entire route see previous Eye story. The Wednesday meeting will include a public hearing on this project.
  • Kleen Energy. Algonquin Gas Transmission is proposing a Natural Gas Pipeline which will come from the downriver side of the power plant, along River Road. It will cross wetlands in places where the road now goes through wetlands, and then in a novel wetlands crossing after it leaves River Road and turns towards the power plant. The details of the wetland crossings are here. The Wednesday meeting will include a public hearing on this project.
  • Newfield Street. A 23-acre development of multi-family housing on will be considered, the detailed plan for water drainage is available here. This will be considered under Old Business.
  • Xavier has proposed building 8 tennis courts off of Randolph Road. The project will cover almost 40,000 square feet of land within 100' of a wetland and thus requires Inland Wetlands approval (in this case, none of the land is actually in a wetlands). The detailed plans for storm drains are available here. This will be considered under Old Business.
On Thursday at 5:30 PM, the Zoning Board of Appeals will consider an appeal of a Zoning Enforcement Officer ruling regarding about a restaurant operation in a residential zone on Route 17.
  • Miss Patsy's Hotdog stand is at the corner of Randolph Road and South Main Street (Rte. 17). The ZBA previously ruled that Miss Patsy's was allowed on a Randolph Road lot at that location, this ZBA ruling was overturned by the Superior and Appellate courts. Miss Patsy's has since moved to an adjacent lot, on South Main Street; the Zoning Enforcement Officer ruled last November that since the South Main Lot already is occupied by a commercial garage (an approved, nonconforming use), the hotdog stand could remain there. However, opponents of the hotdog stand insist that the Superior Court judgment explicitly forbids the operation on either lot, and that the ZBA and town officials are refusing to enforce the zoning code on the books. The Zoning Enforcement Officer's ruling is being appealed to the ZBA whose initial ruling was called into question, and rejected by the Superior Court. Essentially, the ZBA is being asked to enforce a ruling that they originally opposed. The correspondence, rulings by the ZEO and the courts are all available here. This will be the subject of a public hearing.
The Design Review and Preservation Board, and the Conservation Commission will also be meeting next week, their meeting materials are not available on line. However, the next meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission (February 11, 7PM), has a full agenda of items, all of which have extensive documentation on the Planning Department's web site. Those will be the subject of a future post.

[The initial posting had a mistake in the Miss Patsy's section, blue text is a correction and clarification posted at 3PM, 2/2/09. Thanks to Christopher Parslow for pointing out the mistake.]
River Road photo by Barrie Robbins-Pianka

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