Lot subdivision proposed at Overlook property

Thu, 11/05/2020 - 7:15pm

The owners of a six-acre parcel of land in New Harbor have filed an application with the Planning Board to subdivide the property into two parcels: one 4.5 acres in size and one 1.5 acres in size.

The application was submitted by Overlook Realty LLC owner Steve Filippi, and was the subject of a public hearing before the Planning Board on Oct. 14.

While some members of the public asked the members of the Planning Board to consider how any future development may impact the neighborhood and the Great Salt Pond, Overlook attorney Brian LaPlante repeatedly said that there were no plans to develop the property, and the only matter before the board was the proposed subdivision of the land.

“This is not a land development project at all,” said LaPlante. “It is a subdivision of property solely. The creation of a lot line. That’s it.”

The smaller lot would section off the immediate surrounding area of the Overlook, while creating a larger undeveloped parcel. LaPlante said that whatever was ultimately proposed for the undeveloped lot would have to comply with the town’s zoning requirements and restrictions.

Because of that, LaPlante said he had attached to the application a request for waivers on what would normally be attached to an application if it was for “what might be traditionally required in connection with a land development project, where a use to the property was being put or proposed to be put was already identified. That, again, is not the case here. It would quite frankly be irresponsible of the applicant and the tech support folks to identify a particular use when that may or may not be applicable to the property.”

LaPlante did say that the property owner — whomever that may be in the future — had a wide variety of allowed uses for the property in that zone, including “farming. It could be a restaurant. It could be a hotel. We could seek to utilize the lot for waterfront use, but because none of theses uses have been identified or pursued in any respect, it would be entirely premature for us to provide technical data concerning one of a myriad uses we may never pursue.”

Board Chair Margie Comings asked the applicants if they had gone to the Coastal Resources Management Council for any kind of preliminary review, but LaPlante said they had not due to the fact there is no plan for the property.

Planning Board attorney Bill Landry said he was concerned that an earlier decision by the town’s Zoning Board to approve an inn within the existing motel was made in part because of the size of the lot and the configuration of parking on that existing lot. Landry said he wondered if the Zoning Board would have approved the inn if the members had known the lot was going to be subdivided.

LaPlante said he did not think Zoning Board issues should be taken up by the Planning Board, and he said that specific issue was not on the agenda.

“I’m hearing this argument for the first time and I don’t think it has any place here,” said LaPlante. Landry said he believed the issue should go back before the Zoning Board.

During the public comment section, President of the Committee for the Great Salt Pond Sven Risom said “anything around the pond will have consequences.” He said the parcel of land under discussion was located in a “congested area that has blossomed lately… I’m asking the Planning Board to be very conscious of where this parcel is. We ask that there be great caution moving forward.”

Abutter Kevin Hoyt asked that an environmental impact statement be undertaken, and he also asked the Planning Board to consider what kind of impact new development would have in that neighborhood on vehicular traffic.

Owner Steve Filippi closed out the public hearing portion of the meeting by stating, “I know it’s an important piece of real estate in the island. To be very upfront and honest, The Land Trust is very interested in buying it. They’ve done appraisals. They’re doing wetlands determinations. That’s the route we’re going in now. That’s the truth. There is no other plan. There is no ulterior motive.”

Land Trust attorney Joe Priestley asked the Board to “consider the application without regard to any participation by The Land Trust.”

The public informational hearing on this subject will be continued at the next Planning Board meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 10.