Questions persist on assisted living project

By Mark Reynolds
Posted 9/8/21

At the last Lloyd Planning Board meeting, member Sal Cuciti pointed out that the board to date has only received 1/8 inch scale elevations on the proposed Assisted Living Facility [ALF] when ¼ …

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Questions persist on assisted living project

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At the last Lloyd Planning Board meeting, member Sal Cuciti pointed out that the board to date has only received 1/8 inch scale elevations on the proposed Assisted Living Facility [ALF] when ¼ inch scale elevations are required by the town code. Attorney John Furst, who represents developer Owen Marc Sanderson, responded, “We actually asked for a waiver on that...Originally, it was 1/16th and 1/4 inch was requested and we supplied the 1/8th inch in our last submission. The board has the power to waive site plan requirements and our basis is that you are not going to glean any more information between that 1/4 and 1/8 scale.”

Cuciti said most members on the Planning Board are not design professionals, “but if they see each project at the same scale, they get a relative sense of what size it is. So if they see a Stewart’s Shop at 1/4 inch scale and a Storage area at 1/4 inch scale and then see an Assisted Living project at 1/4 inch scale they get an idea of the relative scale. That’s one of our criteria for site plan approval.”

Furst said they have submitted photo simulations of the proposed project from different locations to give the board a sense of the size of the building.

“We’re asking, considering all that we’ve done with respect to the visuals, that the board would waive the 1/4 inch requirement and is happy with the 1/8th inch,” he said.

The town code requires a developer to show elevations at 1/4 inch per foot, which in this case, would result in a drawing 8 ft long and reveal the true enormity of the project. Instead, the developer submitted drawings at half the required scale, which shows a much smaller representation of the building. The Planning Board did not discuss Cuciti’s point further and the matter was dropped.

Cuciti also noted that the proposed Assisted Living project is, “right up against the setback in the front and right up against the setback on the north side. It’s as close to that ½ acre residential parcel as it can be. Based on the size of it, I think we should back it off; I don’t see how we can put a building that’s 380 ft. long and 50 ft. high next to a ½ acre parcel that is [zoned] Residential ½ acre and put it at the minimum setback.”

Cuciti asked attorney Furst about a recent map submission of the ALF building showing the inclusion of the 8+ acre site of the existing Route 9W Storage facility as part of the overall acreage.

Cuciti questioned the role of the storage building lot in the ALF project. Furst said the storage facility lot has no role in the ALF submission and admitted that, “It should not have been included. That’s one of the reasons we changed the proposed subdivision to avoid that confusion.”

Developer Sanderson built the Storage facility that is right next to the proposed ALF project. He is presently suing the town, claiming that a $6 million assessment of his storage facility is too high.

Cuciti also pointed out that on a recent map of the ALF project a catch basin on the northeast side shows no swale going to it but one was shown on a previous plan submission.

“North and east of the [ALF] building there is a catch basin up on the hill behind the dentist office and there should be a swale and a berm going to it or it’s not going to work,” he said, suggesting that the catch basin could be connected to the [front] parking lot and the water would then go toward the south. He asked if the present plan might allow water to spill out onto Route 9W, “right in front of the residential lot to the north, literally right in front of that lot.” This lot is owned by Dr. Anthony Pascale, who has voiced concerns about possible flooding onto his property from the ALF project.

An engineer on the project pointed out that the design actually shows water draining in front of their ALF site and moving south and not in front of Dr. Pascle’s lot. It was noted that a swale will be put in to catch the runoff from the hillside in order to bypass the property in question.

Planning Board Chairman Scott McCarthy made a point to state that the property up the hill is part of a possible future project and is not part of the present ALF application. Attorney Furst went further, calling any development up the hill “speculation,” despite having stated at numerous Planning Board meetings that developer Sanderson has every intention of seeking approval for about 170 + senior living cottages at a later date.

Board member Carl DiLorenzo asked Furst if he had gone to the Zoning Board for a variance because the height of the proposed ALF building exceeds the 35 ft code requirement. Furst challenged that calculation, stating that the height is based upon the average grade.

“We’re working with the slope, so the average grade is actually 30 or 32 ft and is well under the height requirement [35 ft] because the definition in your code talks about the average grade,” he said. “It meets the code and I believe [Building Department Director] Dave Barton signed off on that.” Cuciti has previously pointed out that viewing the project from Route 9W, which is how the public will actually see this project, reveals that the ALF building is 52 ft in height.

The Planning Board voted to close the public hearing on this ALF project. As per Sec. 150-53 F (4) of the town code, the Planning Board has to make a decision, “on the application to approve, disapprove or approve with conditions within 62 days of the date that the public hearing is closed. This time limit may be extended upon the consent of the applicant.”

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