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NOTICE OF DECISION
Site Plan Review for Kress Field Playground Improvements
Applicant: Hingham Recreation Commission
210 Central Street
Project Site: Kress Field Playground
0 off Gardner Street (Map 203 Lot 100)
The Hingham Recreation Commission came before the Planning Board for Site Plan Review under Section IV-B.6.a for the improvement of Kress Field Playground with the installation of a boundless playground, on land zoned Official and Open Space. The Planning Board conducted Site Plan Review at their meeting of June 6, 2016. In attendance were regular members Sarah Corey, Judith Sneath, Gary Tondorf-Dick, William Ramsey and Jennifer Gay Smith. Mark Thorell, Recreation Director, and Vicki Donlan, Recreation Commission Chair, were present for the Recreation Commission.
Mr. Thorell provided background on the project and explained that the idea to improve this playground facility began with the Farm Hills Neighborhood Association talking to the Recreation Commission. Once the idea was developed the proposed playground project ultimately received a state grant as well as CPC funding. It was approved by the Board of Selectmen as well as Town Meeting. The proposal is to install a commercial grade boundless playground next to the existing basketball court, and remove the informal playground equipment. The installation is scheduled for August when there is no use of the ballfield. The Planning Board expressed support for the project and noted that it was consistent with other facility improvements in town, and would be an asset to the neighborhood. The Board discussed the limited amount of existing parking and the current use of the playing fields and playground. Mr. Thorell explained that the basketball court was not rented. It was used for informal games. The softball field was permitted. Women’s softball uses the field Tuesday and Thursday nights in the spring. The South Shore baseball Club uses the field three weekdays from 3p-5p in the spring in fall. The playground has a peak usage in the morning. Mr. Thorell explained that this softball field was not used or permitted as much as other ball fields in town. Therefore, the usage is less. The Chair asked if no additional traffic was expected or intended as a result of this project as the use was not changing substantially. Mr. Thorell and Ms. Donlan agreed with that statement and acknowledged that if conflicts over parking arise they would work with the Police Chief on them. The Chair acknowledged the Police Chief’s comments and request for a look back. The Applicant said they have been talking with the Chief as well and understood the concerns. The Board and applicant discussed vehicular and pedestrian safety, and the indication that no parking signs would be required per the Police Chief’s comments. Public comment was favorable and there were no objections raised. The Board then began deliberation and went through the site plan review criteria, as follows.
SITE PLAN REVIEW CRITERIA AND FINDINGS
a. protection of abutting properties against detrimental uses by provision for surface water drainage, fire hydrant locations, sound and site buffers, and preservation of views, light and air, and protection of abutting properties from negative impacts from artificial outdoor site lighting.
The Board found that no lighting was proposed and that the site is flat and has gravel and grass into which the water naturally percolates. No changes to grade are proposed. The surface of the playground is pervious and supports the existing drainage patterns.
b. convenience and safety of vehicular and pedestrian movement within the site and on adjacent streets; the location of driveway openings in relation to traffic or to adjacent streets, taking account of grades, sight distances and distances between such driveway entrances, exits and the nearest existing street or highway intersections; sufficiency of access for service, utility and emergency vehicles;
The Board found that the parking field is separated from the play field area by log posts. A recommended condition is that the Applicant must install signage at the exit of the parking lot clearly indicating that no parking is allowed on the street, and, support the Police Chief in his efforts to add “no parking” signs on the street.
c. adequacy of the arrangement of parking, loading spaces and traffic patterns in relation to the proposed uses of the premises; compliance with the off-street parking requirements of this By-Law;
The Board found that there currently are no formal handicapped parking spaces. They recommended the following conditions:
• The applicant must coordinate with the Building Commissioner and Roger Fernandes at DPW for the design and installation of the required handicapped accessible parking spaces.
• The applicant will continue to manage usage of ballfield to avoid parking overflow.
• If offsite or illegal parking becomes a persistent issue at any time, the applicant must meet with the Police Chief and Town Planner to identify opportunities to resolve the problem.
• If the Police Chief identifies concerns or complaints with parking within the first year, a one year look back hearing with the Planning Board shall be required.
d. adequacy of open space and setbacks, including adequacy of landscaping of such areas;
The Board found that no changes to the landscape or buffers proposed. A recommended condition is that any ground (lawn) disturbance resulting from the installation work shall be stabilized and seeded at the completion of the project, and protected from foot traffic until the grass is established.
e. adequacy of the methods of disposal of refuse and other wastes resulting from the uses permitted on the site
The Board found that trash cans are on site already.
f. prevention or mitigation of adverse impacts on the Town’s resources, including, without limitation, water supply, wastewater facilities, energy and public works and public safety resources;
The Board found this was not applicable.
g. assurance of positive storm water drainage and snow-melt run-off from buildings, driveways and from all parking and loading areas on the site, and prevention of erosion, sedimentation and storm water pollution and management problems through site design and erosion controls in accordance with the most current versions of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s Storm Water Management Policy and Standards, and Massachusetts Erosion and Sediment Control Guidelines.
The Board found that the project site is flat and pervious. Storm water runoff will not be concentrated or have an increased peak flow leaving the site as a result of this project. Water will flow overland and infiltrate into the lawn area or gravel parking field. A recommended conditions is that a preconstruction meeting must be held prior to the start of work with the project manager, Building Commissioner, Recreation Director, Conservation Administrator and Town Planner (at a minimum) to discuss the implementation, project details, and placement/installation of erosion control measures.
h. protection of natural and historic features including minimizing: the volume of cut and fill, the number of removed trees of 6 inches caliper or larger, the removal of stone walls, and the obstruction of scenic views from publicly accessible locations;
The Board found that this was not applicable.
i. minimizing unreasonable departure from the character and scale of buildings in the vicinity or as previously existing on or approved for the site.
The Board found that this project supports goals from the Open Space and Recreation Plan. In addition, this site is an existing recreation area and playground. The use is not changing; the equipment is simply being upgraded.
VOTE AND CONDITIONS
The Board then Moved, Seconded and So Voted to Waive the requirement for the submittal of additional application materials including drainage report, and full site plans, and further, to APPROVE the Site Plan Review for the Kress Field Playground Improvements as presented in the materials and at the hearing, with the following conditions:
1. The Applicant must install signage at the exit of the parking lot clearly indicating that no parking is allowed on the street, and, support the Police Chief in his efforts to add “no parking” signs on the street.
2. The applicant must coordinate with the Building Commissioner and Roger Fernandes at DPW for the design and installation of the required handicapped accessible parking spaces.
3. The applicant will continue to manage usage of ballfield to avoid parking overflow.
4. If offsite or illegal parking becomes an issue, the applicant must meet with the Police Chief and Town Planner to identify opportunities to resolve the problem.
5. If the Police Chief identifies concerns or complaints with parking within the first year, a one year look back hearing with the Planning Board shall be required.
6. Any ground (lawn) disturbance resulting from the installation work shall be stabilized and seeded at the completion of the project, and protected from foot traffic until the grass is established.
7. A preconstruction meeting must be held prior to the start of work with the project manager, Building Commissioner, Recreation Director, Conservation Administrator and Town Planner (at a minimum) to discuss the implementation, project details, and placement/installation of erosion control measures.
Sarah H. Corey, Chairman
Hingham Planning Board
Cc: Town Clerk, Police Chief, Building Commissioner, R. Fernandes, L. Fournier
EXECUTED this ____ day of June, 2016
COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
Plymouth, ss June _____, 2016
Then personally appeared Sarah H. Corey, Chairman of the Hingham Planning Board, and acknowledged the foregoing to be the free act and deed of said Board.
Dolores A. DeLisle, Notary Public My Commission Expires: __________________