Revisions to Athol Hospital site approved

  • Chairman of the Board of Planning and Community Development David Small and Athol Fire Chief Joseph Guarnera survey the parking separation island near the new Athol Hospital ambulance bay that will be removed to provide a clearer path for ambulances. —Eric Smith

Staff Writer
Published: 6/14/2019 9:55:27 PM
Modified: 6/14/2019 9:55:14 PM

ATHOL — A few “minor but necessary” adjustments are being worked on for the Athol Hospital site plan, said chairman David Small at a Board of Planning and Community Development meeting Wednesday night.

Small reported that after a site visit, he and Director of Planning and Community Development Eric Smith noted some needed modifications that include increasing the radius of the opening along Mechanic Street for ambulances and fire trucks, modifying a separation island between parking spaces and the ambulance drop off area, and adding more space between the top of the ambulance bay and the overhang.

Craig D. Piper, senior principal at SMRT Architects and Engineers, representing Athol Hospital, LLC, submitted an amendment letter saying the design team has modified the original design as requested and that it is in agreement with the Athol Fire Department’s concerns. The revision also includes the addition of a small canopy along the face of the building near the ambulance drop off area. The board approved the revised site plan. Board member Richard Hayden recused himself as an abutter.

Benwoods Project

A hearing was held to accept decisions, findings and conditions regarding the Benwoods project off Jeanne Drive and Petersham Road. The board approved the special permit applications from Peter K. Lyman for an Open Space Residential Design (OSRD), a Flag Lot, and a Definitive Subdivision Plan. A stipulation was added to provide a covenant (agreement) exclusive to the 14-lot property which will be prepared by Lyman’s attorney and reviewed by town counsel.

The project’s land surveyor Edward Berry said he had met with Department of Public Works Superintendent Doug Walsh who wanted to make sure the stormwater swale wasn’t going to become a town maintenance issue, which Small said would be absolved through the covenant.

Berry said each homeowner of a lot will be part of an association that would be responsible for monitoring and maintaining the property’s private open space. The 35.1 acres of land is to permanently remain as undeveloped space used only for recreational purposes, with no public access. The Benwoods plan follows Open Space Residential Design (OSRD) provisions that conserve open space in a new subdivision. “It’s a very unique property,” Berry said of the former gravel site.

If someone wished to extend their lot into the open space or build a pavilion, for example, Berry said it would strictly be up to the association to approve, not the town.

The board accepted to adopt the OSRD plan over the conventional one. Small said it’s the first one of its kind that the board has dealt with since it was introduced.

A continued public hearing will be held July 10 at 7:15 p.m. in the Town Hall regarding a Licensed Marijuana Establishment Special Permit application for The Botanist, Inc., for marijuana cultivation and processing for property located at 706 Petersham Rd.

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