West side of Kwiniaska, site of proposed development

More than two dozen Shelburne residents turned out for the Development Review Board meeting on April 20 to express their concerns about the Sketch Plan presented by Snyder Custom Homes for developing 100 new homes on the Kwiniaska property on the southern edge of Spear Street. The DRB had previously reviewed the proposal and conducted a site visit on April 2 for a closer view. Andy Rowe, speaking on behalf of Snyder Custom Homes, responded to issues raised in the DRB staff report, stating that most if not all of the concerns would be addressed in their Preliminary and Final Plan applications.

DRB Chair Mark Sammut commented that he was especially concerned about the proposed northern access to the property through an area currently occupied by well-developed trees, a concern echoed by DRB member Jeff Hodgson. DRB alternate Jeff McBride expressed concern about changes in topography, especially in the northwest corner which has steep slopes and exposed ledges. He would like the development to follow the existing contours of the land. DRB member Mary Kehoe wanted a commitment that public space would be deeded to the Town for conservation purposes.

Gail Albert, Chair of the Natural Resources Committee, noted that the Committee had provided extensive written comments on the proposal, but wanted to draw the DRB’s attention to several key issues, including stormwater runoff impacts on an endangered watershed and surrounding neighborhoods, the degradation of wildlife habitat areas and intrusion into wildlife corridors, negative impact on the view shed particularly with the backs of homes facing Spear Street, deforestation, and the need for more open contiguous green space. She asked that geological, forest, and wildlife specialists be asked to conduct impact studies. She urged the developers to use low impact green technology to establish a green community, and add a public garden and recreational space.

Sid Miller expressed concern about the traffic impact on Spear Street and Webster Road by adding 100 new homes in this area.

Toni Supple stated her worry that blasting ledges would damage the roots of existing trees and asked for geologist and stormwater specialists to review the project to assess the impact.

Kate Fournier asked that no houses be built in the forest area and endorsed the report of the Natural Resources Committee. She noted that if homes were not allowed in the forest area, the property would support 22 new homes based on acreage per home in the Collamer Circle neighborhood.

Ken Albert called this development a “radical departure” that is inconsistent with the character of the neighborhood and the Town of Shelburne due to the density and configuration of the project.

Sammut stated that the DRB will consider the density, encroachment on the forest and wildlife corridors, and other issues in their deliberations. He noted that with proper stormwater drainage engineering techniques, run off issues in the Boulder Hill area might be ameliorated with this development. He made a motion to close the hearing which passed. He said the DRB would deliberate before moving ahead to direct the applicant to prepare a Preliminary Plan. The deliberation may take place on May 4th, the date of the next DRB meeting.

In other business, the DRB:

  • Approved a Conditional Use Application filed by Kim Hussels to renovate an existing three-season porch to a year-round living space at his home at 160 Maple Leaf Lane.
  • Approved a Final Plan Application submitted by Precourt Investment Company for a re-subdivision within the Shelburne Shopping Park, a 5,000 square foot addition to Rite-Aid with a drive-through pharmacy, and new signage. This project had been thoroughly discussed earlier this year at the Sketch and Preliminary Plan stages.

The next meeting of the DRB will be held on Wednesday, May 4 at 7 pm in the Municipal Center.

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