Monday, March 31, 2014

Nelson Place March update

Reminder: in a Feasibility study phase
updating as we go...
"have gotten back to us with some comments on how it could improve" before going on to the next step
going on to analyse the three options
Next public hearing: May 17 at 7 pm regarding Preferred Schematic Design
Vote: June 4 at 7 pm on Preferred Schematic Design

once the Preferred Schematic Design is submitted and approved, it's the one we're going with
"very expensive" to go back and do over

  •  contacting the neighborhood (I would say, by the way, that there are maybe thirty people here). Someone living next door to Nelson Place has not gotten anything, as some of the abutters also said that they had not. Neighbor commenting that visual abutter matter, as well. Circulating papers for signup. Only abutters of school property contacted, not the abutters of the Assumption property...shouldn't they be notified? bit of a back and forth here about what has been decided and hasn't; if things haven't been decided, then should they be notified...
  • Assumption land: City Manager met with Assumption: would like to maintain and develop a field for the community and the school; only access from school. Project thus to be built on current WPS property. Thus the change in timeline. Could land be sloped to more gradually grade slopes for new school? Would involve taking abutting property to do so. "if school is built up on top plateau, we very much need access to that land" Field development tied to school rebuilt. Query if runoff will change; yes, definitely. People wanting fencing, "a high fence" along the edge of the schoolyard due to students cutting through yards to get to school. "Retaining walls and pavement everywhere is not going to be a good solution." "We want more feedback." Suggestion that buffer be deeper for private property owners than for Assumption. Assumption will be giving access to Romola Road (that's southeast of the current school) for emergency. Two wetlands on either side on the top of the hill limits what can be done. "Having an environmental studies program for Nelson Place for all the kids, rather than a soccer field for twenty kids whose parents can afford to pay and drive them up there." Not a competitive field...Assumption not desperate for fields...pesticides? Grammar schools don't offer sports; kids who don't get to participate because they can't afford it. 
  • Traffic study has been done
  • Wetlands have been flagged
Hoping to have schematic design approval by January from state
Hours of construction? Within city ordinances. School will be an occupied site; neighborhood close

What we're coming up with for a school
existing building dismissed in terms of the program
(review here of much of what was presented earlier this month
increase in number of students, program increase in special ed
cutting back edges of lots along Hapgood (is suggestion
wetlands along both back corners 
"by observing plant species and auguring the soil" 15 no build line, 30 foot setback line, 100 buffer
"finding they're what we thought they were"
30 foot buffer area for vernal pools which, commentary, will be enough to kill a vernal pool
comment from a neighbor that they came when it was snow, and they can't possibly know; back and forth here as to if it's possible for someone could find that
ConCom reviews once the filing occurs (but the vernal pool will be gone, as they're seasonal)
"respect the boundary lines as much as we can"
"have to mitigate any of the water on the site"
Query: "you keep talking about options that you don't have thought out, but then you do have them thought out"
Images shown tonight will be up online tomorrow and I'll link once they do
Query: Assumption wanted to put a field up there and put lights on it, and we voted against it. Now they're going to do it anyway. To make the property
"to say you're going to put a field on it, you're going to take every tree down, you're going to change the runoff patterns...this project stinks!"
"it shouldn't be off the table to build higher, to make less impact on the site"
school department asked for fewer stories for egress
Norback offered as an example of possibly what is being thought of
Traffic study: no surprises, really. Traffic for dropoff and pickup
Query: where will the loops be? Don't know yet. Part of plan
Incidentally, they're not holding out on anyone; they actually can't have decided this stuff yet.
Query: will they be accessing the project from Romola Road? Can write specifications to degree of activity and where. Might mean need to take gym down to get up there; "talking about a lot of ways to access site"
about a two year timeline to build a building
contractors can park offsite and be shuttled in
"steady stream of concrete trucks over a long period of time"
Query: when can we learn about Assumption's plan? Will be included in this plan; trustees to vote in May
Assumption trustees may not support creation of field or maintenance of field
Query: will there be blasting? Yes, Chatfield ledge. "I haven't done a building [in Worcester] in the last 30 years that hasn't involved blasting."
"You've cut all the trees down, then you've created fractures in the ledge, what's that going to do to the watertable?"
Has been identified as an Open Space Top Ten List property
Query: are we trying to get fields for more land? Can't we develop other properties for this
Where could we put another one locally?
"also valuing the recreational needs of people who play soccer over those of the community"
Query: what's going to stop Assumption from putting lights and a PA system up there five years from now?
"hearing that there are after school programs" (disputed) that need space
Economou: "no question we need a new school, no question" but going to neighbors on Hapgood, but Assumption off the table: why? Also, construction access through Assumption (safer)
would like written agreement for field
"Need a better balance between the portions of our city"
Response: served city purpose for rectangular fields when proposed by Assumption. Also. bottleneck isn't up by Assumption property; on the table to build the best possible school we could
Economou: making it uncomfortable for neighbors rather than for Assumption, making it easier for Assumption
Comment that these are two different projects: field off the table, then there's not bottleneck issues or wetland issues just for the school
Assumption was supposed to share maintenance of baseball field; has not happened as a result
Query: you're going to come up with multiple designs? When?
Next meeting?
"I would assume so"
Query: "highly constrained site; issue with getting traffic up the hill...have you looked into building into the slope?" Yes, just recently given them to investigate
Response of Pagano to a question points out that the city is exempt from wetland regulations regarding buffer zones; refuses to specify buffer zone that will be observed by design

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