Anticipating that it will make a decision on the proposed Canter Brook senior housing project in September, the Hamilton Planning Board reviewed Tuesday night the results of soil tests at six sites, proposed architectural drawings for the residences and plans for landscaping and parking.
The proposed 43-unit senior housing complex, which would replace the Canter Brook Equestrian Center, must also win the approval of the Conservation Commission, the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Health Department. The development is being designed for a 14-acre site between Highland and Asbury streets.
More than a dozen neighbors showed up and asked questions of the engineer and architect. “There is a lot of interest in this project,” said Rick Hayes, a neighbor.
Another neighbor asked the board if the owner, Jerry Dawson, could sell the project once it wins all its approvals.
Board chairman Peter Clarke and member Rick Mitchell explained that a special permit would transfer with the land for two years with a one-year extension.
After the meeting, Dawson said he has never said he plans to sell the project. “There is a lot of things said about me. But these people (the neighbors) don't know me.”
Robert Forbes, senior engineer with Prime Engineering, explained that he was only able to dig six holes to test the ability of the soil to absorb the water. Five of the six holes exceeded his expectations, he said. The sixth hole did not allow for much water to seep through it, he said.
Forbes will ask the Conservation Commission next week for permission to drill additional test holes in areas that are more environmentally sensitive. Once those wells are dug and the soil tested, the results will be reviewed by an engineer, Robert Puff, that is working for the planning board.
Several neighbors have criticized the project, saying it will make the flooding of their properties worse. Project owners have disagreed with that claim.
Forbes said the owners rejected the idea of eliminating the outdoor pool at the two-story building to gain more parking spaces. Visitor parking for the building would be along the street instead.
Architect Chris Doktor said the residences will be built with a New England-style shingles. The duplexes will be 1,800 to 2,000 square feet and have three bedrooms. The 18 units in the two-story building will have two bedrooms in 1,300 square feet.
Outside the project will feature a splitwood rail fence along Asbury Street. There will be 12-foot tall, historic-style outdoor lanterns that light the sidewalks and roadways. The lanterns are designed to limit the light given off into the night sky, Doktor said.
Doktor said the project will follow many of the environmental guidelines outlined by the U.S. Green Building Council and the federal Energy Star program, but it may not seek certification as a green project.
The Planning Board will meet next on this project on July 19 and again on August 2. It has been reviewing this project for almost a year.
Clarke Remains as Chairman
The Board voted unanimously to ask Clarke to remain as chairman until its October meeting. Clarke had proposed that a new chairman be elected to head the board, but members Mitchell and Evelyn Shuman said they would like for him to complete the review of the special permit for the Canter Brook project.
Ed Howard agreed. “The planning board has gained a lot of respect in town under your tutelage,” he said.