The Planning Board approved the master plan for a two-house development at the end of Sonnet Drive in a 6-0 vote Wednesday night. Member Stephen Brusini recused himself.
The project, called Long Meadow Phase II, is actually on land located between the original Long Meadow Farms project off Frenchtown Road and Sonnet Drive off Woodbridge in High Hawk. And the developer is Richard Scherr, not Tom Primeau, who developed the original Long Meadow Farms several years ago.
The town has had its issues with Primo over finish work left undone at Long Meadow Farms. In the most recent action, the Town Council told Town Solicitor Peter Clarkin to tap the developer’s performance bond to cover the costs of the work – guardrails, landscaping – left undone.
Phase II presented only one detail that prompted significant discussion – three “conditions” that would place the town in a position to police such things as the types of trees planted.
“If these become town-enforceable obligations, is that a matter for the town to be concerned with enforcing?” asked board member Bill Stone.
“Perhaps we should be reluctant to do that unless we want to be policing these things,” said Mike Donegan, also on the board.
Board members asked Town Planner Lisa Bourbonnais what she thought of the conditions.
"It’s very unusual that we would attach conditions that have already been agreed to [by the private parties involved]," she said.
In the end, the board voted to omit one of the conditions.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, resident Arthur Doucette asked the panel for help gaining road access to two land-locked parcels he owns beside Long Meadow Farms. Doucette has sought town help before, without success. Planning Board acting chair Brad Bishop told Doucette the board could do nothing to help him, that he needed a legal remedy.
After the vote, Planning Board Chairman Stephen Brusini returned to his seat. He told the board he'd recused himself after a discussion with the Ethics Commission. It turned out Brusini represented the business interests of one of the development's abutters. The Ethics Commission told Brusini to recuse himself.
"The general rule is, if in doubt, recuse," said Brusini.
This was the final meeting for 10-year Planning Board veteran Brad Bishop, who was on July 30. Bishop served as Planning Board chairman until last month. He had already filed the papers necessary to run for Town Council at the time of .
The Planning Board will also be losing Jack Simpson come December so Brusini made a plea for interested residents to apply to the Town Council.