Monday, June 2, 2014

Nelson Place preferred design VOTE

There are actually two votes happening tonight: one to change one of the three preliminary design proposals; one to move forward with a single preferred schematic design.
That's because one of the three preliminary designs was put off the table by the lack of Assumption land for the project.
Mayor Petty introduction: thanks all for participation, attempts to incorporate concerns
final schematic design done sometime a few months from now

Paul Moosey, DPW: tonight's agenda is about the committee
amend the previous report, changes to layout and properties
then vote on preferred, as recommended by the team
appreciates the time the school department has put in
"That's the critical time, the planning time, later on is when the details put in"
Julie Lynch: need two votes from the committee
revised PDP, then preferred schematic report
voting one as the preferred solution with the state
slide presentation is very similar to that two weeks ago
have established all the needs of the building to be address in the building; doesn't mean building won't change
"will be responding to concerns as best we can"
comments and concerns from committee first; then from the public, limited to 20 minutes
concern on neighborhood school becoming a 600 student school; much of increase is pre-K
concern on land taking: total of 1 acre; site has a bottleneck
attempts "to provide a decent backyard with those property"
nearly all are for grading reasons, to avoid a retaining wall of up to 12 feet
"as we move through schematic design we'll provide you with more drawings of the school"
concern on wetlands: "lands subject to flooding"
abiding by 15 and 30 foot setbacks (despite city not being subject to their own regulations)
parking: current parking not enough for current staff; additional parking for events is going to be on the road on the property
playground space: largely in the back of the building
access road through Assumption land: emergency access (no cost to city)
"We heard from a lot of people 'why is this building about drive, drive, drive?'" back access is intended to provide walking and biking access as well
Rob Parra: "many studies, many meetings" all of which will be published (but aren't yet)
plan to "hit LEEDs silver"
140 daily parking spaces; separate bus/parent traffic; 10-12 buses; 10 half size buses; 5 after-school vans
NOW LOOKING FOR 60-70 cars in queue for pickup; reviewing need for 100-150 cars picking up
revised option C (with additional land)
"one of those is C2 which is the one we're recommending to move ahead"
Option A which would keep newer parts of building: not being recommended
"kids don't have a place to go" due to expanding elementary population
Option B: on existing site (this is one that looks like a Y): "from property line to property line...retaining walls...congested"
"all of the schemes ended up about cost neutral"
Option C1: separates bus and parent traffic
plateauing into the hill with two stories, single stories elsewhere
C2: has double story for both ends, single story in the middle
"very efficient plan in terms of control of areas"
C3 straightens out legs, comes close to property bounds
meets academic needs of program
"don't feel the parking area works as well as it can"
all around $40/41 million in construction; about the same about in total (about $55 million)
C2 came out above the C3 option in how it met the needs of the building

Now onto C2: allows maximum buffer; maximizes needs to school
Note that this is a very preliminary layout

School building committee question
Q: footprint of building is pretty much set: what's around it is still a variable to be decided later?
Yes, and no. General footprint "that needs a lot of work to be developed"
Q: will neighbors be compensated? Yes. Have those conversations happened yet? No, need state approval at this point
Q: (around parking)
majority of parking on site is for staff and administration; parking for visitors
suggestion that parking could be scheduled around bus traffic
Q: how did you establish 140 parking spots? Staff (including full kitchen), plus parents coming for student assessment (preschool assessment, which happens all year), plus itinerant teacher
Q: what will be put along edges?
"trees really don't help with noise" which, I'm just going to say here, is patently untrue
answer is a series of different plantings
now questions from public
Q: does the blue house owned by Assumption have to be taken?
We're thinking no
how will it be treated?
eight foot wide path with additional support on either side with bollards at either end
would make it pretty much a walking bicyling path? Hope that it will never need to be used
"there just doesn't seem to be much change from the last meeting"
very little compromise on cars
"What did you accommodate beyond getting people off of Nelson Place?"
but the cars will still be coming up and down the street; will make street less congestion
"but there won't be cars parking on both sides"
"if you had as part of your program to reduce traffic by even ten percent; instead you build a monster, without traffic calming..."
"better education is part of that"
LEEDS silver program is part of that, as it wants to encourage kids to walk and bike to school
concern about kids
"you closed the school at Indian Hill, and now you have money problems now!"
complicated programs now that they didn't have before
suggestion that all kids should walk home for lunch again
Q: will access road be used for construction?
"we don't see that"
most access will be from front of building"
"If they say it's the safest thing for the school, I'm not going to say that I'm not going to do it"
drawing involves many issues
"if I find that we provide a safe school without an access road, we'll do it"
comment that there will be a lot more traffic at noontime, pickup and drop off
Q: couldn't the teachers be shuttled? Where would they park?
comment here around shuttling teachers from somewhere else
isn't Brooks sellling his? Couldn't they make that a parking lot?
9:05 to 3:10 hours
but with library at the school which could be used for a public library branch
(emphasis from DPW Commissioner on "could be")
comparison now with Wachusett
"I don't think people will be inclined to park on Nelson Place with this new school"
back and forth now about how buses work now versus how the could work then

Change in plan: passes unanimously
choosing C2: passes unanimously

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