PORTSMOUTH - The Planning Board recently got its first look at a proposed 22-unit, single-family home development off of Banfield Road.
Corey Colwell, the principal of engineering firm TF Moran, presented the proposed “open space planned unit development” to the board on behalf of the applicant, MSC, who were represented at the meeting by Rick and Janet Green from Green and Company.
The development as proposed now will feature the 22 single-family homes, which will be located on about 44 acres off Banfield Road, Colwell said during Thursday’s board meeting.
Entry into the development will be made by a private road that will travel over wetlands, he added.
The development plans to use city water but private sewer disposal systems, Colwell said.
There’s two wetland areas on the property and two large upland areas, totaling about 24.3 acres, he said.
The homes will be built on “the largest upland area on the east side of the property,” Colwell said.
The private street is now proposed at 20-feet wide, he said.
Twenty-five percent of the site, as the ordinance requires, will be dedicated to common and permanent open space, Colwell said.
“This proposal complies with all the applicable zoning requirements, no variances are necessary,” he told the board.
His presentation came during what is called a preliminary conceptual consultation with the board.
Planning Director Juliet Walker explained in a recent memo that “preliminary conceptual consultation ... shall be directed at review of the basic concept of the proposal and suggestions, which might be of assistance in resolving problems with meeting requirements during final consideration.”
“Such consultation shall not bind either the applicant or the board and statements made by Planning Board members shall not be the basis for disqualifying said members or invalidating any action,” the city’s zoning ordinance states.
Colwell told the board the reason they presented the plan “at this early stage is to get some feedback from this board.”
“We have a lot of experience with residential developments and we want to hear your concerns, opinions and any suggested improvements to make this project better,” he said.
Board Vice Chair Elizabeth Moreau told the group her initial concern was safety.
“There’s only one way in and one way out and it seems like people are really going to be tucked in there,” Moreau said.
She also questioned whether the fire department could navigate the “first kind of circular area” coming into the development.
“I just want to make sure everyone who is living in there is living in there safely,” Moreau said.
Colwell replied that during a consultation with the city’s Technical Advisory Committee safety come up too.
But he said a fire department representative stated he believes all the homes will have to be served by a sprinkler system, Colwell said.
The representative, Colwell said, “felt the width of 20 feet would be adequate if the homes were sprinkled.”
“We’re looking into that,” he added.
Colwell also told the board that the development is planned to be built as “condominium units so they’ll be a condominium association, similar to a homeowner’s association.”
“That association will maintain the open space and the common areas, the infrastructure,” he said.
Board Chair Dexter Legg told developers he was pleased that the proposed development “isn’t asking for variances.”
“I appreciate that approach,” Legg said.
The project is being proposed in the Single Residential A zone “to the west of the Temple of Israel Cemetery.”
“As proposed, this project will require a wetland conditional use permit in addition to Planning Board site plan review approval,” Walker said in her memo.