Board mulling 25-lot subdivision proposal

Greenfield Planning Board is reviewing a 25-unit subdivision off Sawmill Road.

Greenfield Planning Board is reviewing a 25-unit subdivision off Sawmill Road. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

GREENFIELD — Landowner Gene Mitchell presented a plan for 25 lots, three fewer than his previous proposal, as the Planning Board continued its review of his Sawmill Estates housing development project Monday.

The plan calls for an open space development subdivision on the approximately 95-acre lot located off Sawmill Road, just north of the American Steel & Precast Erectors plant. Chad Branon of Fieldstone Land Consultants of Milford told the Planning Board that approximately 50 acres of the sloping site are not suitable for development. That land will be left as open space, much of it in a undeveloped ring around the outside of site. “We’re at a density that isn’t substantially different than a conventional subdivision,” said Branon. “This is what we think the best solution is. We believe this conforms with your regulations.”

Branon noted that Mitchell could choose to present a conventional plan if the open-space one didn’t get Planning Board approval. Mitchell has been working with the Planning Board on options for the land since 2007.

At earlier deliberations on the proposal, board members had considered requiring the developer to hire a consultant to do a quality assessment of the open space plan. “Will these changes alleviate concerns about conservation value or do you still feel you need a study?” Board Chair Bob Marshall asked his fellow Planning Board members Monday. Marshall said if the developer were to opt for a conventional plan, the board would lose control of the arrangement of open space.

Board member Angelique Moon said having the open space outside of the development would preserve the rural character of the area from the perspective of other residents, since they wouldn’t be seeing houses as they drive by on Sawmill Road.

The board chose not to require a quality assessment study.

On Tuesday, Marshall said Monday’s meeting was productive. “We were able to give them some direction they needed,” he said. “They won’t need a study. That was a significant step.”

Marshall said Mitchell will still need to get waivers on slope requirements for the private road that will access the house lots. That will be the subject when the board resumes deliberations on the project at its July 22 meeting.

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