Kwiniaska development clears first hurdle for approval

Even though initial plans for the Kwiniaska development have cleared the approval process, Kwiniaska is planning to open as an 18-hole course in 2017. Photo by Boston Neary

In a decision dated Jan. 4, the Development Review Board approved the sketch plan submitted by Snyder Custom Homes for 91 housing units, including a mix of 26 single-family homes, 38 carriage homes, and nine multi-family townhouses that would provide 27 housing units, on 53.5 acres with 24 acres of open space on the west side of Spear Street bordered by Webster Road.

This proposal reduced the original request from 100 units. The next step in the process will be for Snyder Homes to present a preliminary plan for approval by the DRB, at which time at least one public hearing will be held, followed by a final plan application, which will also be subject to a public hearing.

In its report on the decision, the DRB made it clear that additional detailed information will be required from Snyder Homes and closely analyzed by the DRB to determine whether the development receives final approval.

The report noted, “Many of the requirements that the DRB must consider involved the compatibility with the proposal and surrounding neighborhoods, and in future applications the DRB will be required to review the conditional use criteria for the proposed multi-family housing. The DRB would recommend a strong reconsideration of the multi-family housing in favor of two-family housing.”

In listing the regulatory standards that will be applied in future considerations, the DRB signaled that it would be looking at individual lot sizes, building coverage, building height, and the lot frontages that have not yet been finalized, among a host of other issues.

Those singled out in the report included “whether the proposal includes due regard for the preservation and protection of existing features, trees, scenic points, brooks, streams, rock outcroppings, water bodies and other natural resources and historical resources,” and “whether the proposal includes adequate provision for erosion prevention and sediment control during construction; minimizing stormwater generation after construction; and adequate stormwater treatment after construction.”

The stormwater implications for neighboring developments in Boulder Hill and Collamer Circle, as well as the impact of blasting rocks to clear land for new housing units, were hot topics during the sketch plan hearings and are likely to be so again in hearings on the preliminary and final plan applications.

The report also stated that the DRB would be evaluating “whether the proposal includes sufficient open space for active and passive recreation,” and “whether the proposed development is compatible with surrounding properties in terms of character of primary or secondary activities.”

The compatibility issue and the traffic implications were also brought up repeatedly in the sketch plan hearings and no doubt will be raised in future hearings.

The Kwiniaska development has cleared the first hurdle in the process, but there are two more to go. At each subsequent stage, a great deal of public comment and DRB scrutiny is anticipated.

The Finding of Fact and Notice of Decision were discussed and signed in an executive session following the DRB’s regular meeting on Jan. 4. Copies of the report may be obtained from the Shelburne Planning Office.

The next meeting of the DRB is on Wednesday, Jan.18 at 7pm in the Municipal Center.

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