Flexible Development Subdivisions Special Permits
About Flexible Development
These regulations are promulgated pursuant to Section VI H. of the Weston Zoning By-Law. In 1994, Annual Town Meeting replaced the Cluster Provision to the Zoning By-Law with a provision that allows Flexible Development on any parcel in Town provided that it is located in a single family residence district. Flexible Development is an alternative form of land development that involves the division of a parcel into residential building lots, using flexible zoning dimensions, pursuant to Section VI.H.5. of the Zoning By-Law. A Flexible Development Subdivision, as opposed to a conventional subdivision, allows greater flexibility in design within overall density limits.
The purpose of the Flexible Development provision to the Zoning By-Law is to permit a better relationship of development to land qualities by allowing flexibility in lot size, frontage and setbacks. Road design standards are often reduced from conventional engineering standards. The goal of a Flexible Development is to minimize the disruption to the land and to abutters; take into account the natural features of the site; and preserve the semi-rural character of the Town by preserving vegetated buffers around and within the Flexible Development.
The Flexible Development process is a 2-step process. Prior to submission of a Preliminary Density Plan an Applicant must first meet with the Town Planner to discuss the proposed development. The Applicant must submit all Plans, reports and calculations to the Planning Board’s consulting engineer: David Conway, Judith Nitsch Engineering, Inc., 1 Appleton Street, Boston, MA 02116, Telephone: 617 338 0063. Prior to submission of the Plan, an Applicant must deposit an amount of money to be used as review fees under Chapter 593 along with filing fees. The Town Planner will provide a complete list of fees.
Preliminary Density Plan Submission - click for example
The first step in the process is submission of a Preliminary Density Plan (also referred to as a Compliance Plan), which determines the maximum number of buildable lots on a parcel (Requirements for a Preliminary Density Plan will be listed below). The maximum number of lots in a Flexible Development cannot exceed the number of building lots which could be created through a conventional subdivision. The Preliminary Density Plan is developed using the standards from the Planning Board Rules and Regulations for Subdivision Control without substantial waivers from the requirements, and to the dimensions for minimum setback, minimum lot area, and lot irregularity specified in the Zoning By-Law. For the purpose of determining density, a Preliminary Density Determination Plan may conform to the following frontage requirements: Residence District A: 200 feet; Residence District B:150 feet; Residence District C:125 feet; residence District D-100 feet.
If there are significant wetlands on the site that will be impacted by the proposed development or the parcel is affected by the Rivers Protections Act, then the Planning Board must be convinced that the Conservation Commission will allow the development. Similarly, the Preliminary Density Plan must show that each building lot is capable of supporting an on lot disposal system.
Site Walk & Public Hearing
A Site Walk and Public Hearing will be held on the Preliminary Density Plan. The Applicant must submit a Certified Abutters List to the Planning Board as part of the Plan submission The Certified Abutters List is generated by the Assessors Office. Copies of the form used by the Assessors are available in the Building Department. The Town Planner is responsible for advertising all Public Hearing Notices and notices to abutters.
The Planning Board will make the final determination of density. The Board has 45 days from the date of submission to review the Plan. At the end of the review period a Certificate of Approval will be issued that designates the maximum number of building lots allowed in the Flexible Development.
Flexible Development Plan Submission
The second step in the process is submission of a Flexible Development Plan. An Applicant must meet with the Town Planner prior to submission of the Plan . After the Town Planner had determined that there is a complete submission, a Public Hearing date will be scheduled. At least one Public Hearing and Site Walk will be held. Typically, the Public Hearing is continued to allow the Applicant to produce additional information. The Town Planner is responsible for the Public Hearing Notice and Notice to abutters.
The Applicant must deposit additional Chapter 593 Review Fees along with Filing Fees before a Public Hearing is scheduled.
A Flexible Development Plan will deviate dramatically from the Preliminary Density Determination Plan. Prior to submission of the Flexible Plan, the Applicant is encouraged to conduct deep hole and percolation tests throughout the site so that final design of the Plan is not constrained by location of the septic systems.
A Flexible Development Plan shall minimize alteration to the natural features and topography of the land, avoid undue adverse impact on existing homes and neighborhoods, and preserve wooded areas and undeveloped open land along existing Town roads and within the site. All Flexible Developments should provide no cut buffers that are either deeded to Weston Forest and Trail Association, Inc., or preserved through deed restrictions. Preservation of stone walls is encouraged.
Roadway Configurations & Vegetation
Roadway configurations that follow the natural grade are encouraged including maintaining the existing horizontal and vertical profile. Width of pavement may be reduced. In planning the road design, the Applicant should give maximum consideration to preserving the existing trees and vegetation, including under story, that surround the road. All roads in a Flexible Development will remain private with maintenance carried out by a homeowners association, established as part of the Flexible Development process.
Lot Irregularity Requirement
A Flexible Development Plan is exempt from the Lot Irregularity Requirement.
Approval of a Flexible Development Plan is through a Special Permit process. The review period for the Plan ends 90 days from the close of the Public Hearing, unless extended by the Applicant. The Planning Board issues a Certificate of Approval with conditions. A twenty day appeal period follows filing of the Certificate of Approval with the Town Clerk.
The Board may, where such action is in the interest of good planning, in the public interest, and not inconsistent with the intent and purpose of the Subdivision Control Law, require information and impose requirements and conditions in addition to those set forth in these Regulations.
Preliminary Density Determination Plan
A Preliminary Density Determination Plan will be considered submitted upon receipt of all the information set forth in the following section.
Review By Other Boards & Consultants
The applicant shall submit the Preliminary Development Density Plan and accompanying documentation to The Board of Health and to Judith Nitsch Engineering, Inc. for review. The Board may also request the assistance of another Town Board, Agency or private consultant to review the Plan
Fees (Review & Filing)
Refer to Article VII, Fee Schedule, in Planning Board Rules and Regulations, dated November 20, 2002.
Certified Abutters List
An Abutters List, certified by the Assessors office, shall be submitted as part of the Plan. A copy of the form used by the Assessors is available in the Building Department. An abutter is defined as owners of land directly opposite on any public or private street or way, and abutters to the abutters within three hundred feet of the property line of the petitioner as they appear on the most recent applicable tax list.
Onsite Inspection & Staking
The Planning Board shall schedule a site walk. The applicant shall clearly stake the following items: left and right side of right of way; left and right side of traveled way; 100 foot buffer from vegetated wetland; Wetland and Floodplain Protection District Line; Rivers Protections Act-100 foot and 200 foot buffer line; proposed lot lines, buffer area as defined by Planning Board Rules and Regulations; storm water system; location of proposed septic system; any other items the Planning Board feels is relevant to its decision making.
The Applicant’s engineer shall be available at all site walks to lead the discussion.
Types of Plans & Information Required
A Preliminary Density Determination Plan shall be submitted in duplicate on black or blue line sheets measuring 24 by 36, consecutively numbered and drawn at a scale of either 1 inch to 50 feet or 1 inch to 40 feet. The Plan shall contain, in addition to other information that may be requested by the Board, the following general information on each sheet:
- Existing and proposed lines of streets, ways and easements including street connections and extensions to adjoining developable land
- Existing topography of the land to include an area at least 100 feet around and outside the subdivision boundary, including contour lines at two-foot intervals based on the National Geodetic Vertical Datum. Reference must be made to an established Town benchmark
- Major site features such as rock outcroppings, wetlands, streams, stone walls, and bodies of water,
- Limit of 100 foot buffer around wetland boundary as defined by the Wetland Protection Act,
- Boundaries of the Wetland and Floodplain Protection District A and B with their elevations based on the National Geodetic Vertical Datum
- Boundaries of the Aquifer Protection District,
- Limit of the 200 foot and 100 foot buffer as defined by the Rivers Protection Act,
- Location of all soil borings, percolation tests and deep test holes with an indication of tests that have been witnessed and approved by the Board of Health,
- For each lot, location of sufficient percolation and groundwater test to define at least one area capable of supporting an on lot disposal system with garbage grinder for a four bedroom house, under current Board of Health requirements, which tests were witnessed by an agent of the Board of Health,
- The potential septic field area and reserve area, delineated by a dashed line,
- Proposed lot lines including a sketch indicating conformance with the lot irregularity and coefficient of irregularity,
- Proposed building envelope,
- Proposed system for storm water disposal including hydrologic calculations showing that post development rate of runoff will not exceed predevelopment rate for the 100 , 50 and 25 year storm,
- Profiles of proposed streets at a horizontal scale of one inch to fifty feet and a vertical scale of one inch to five feet.
Design Standards are specified in the Planning Board Rules and Regulations for Subdivision
Flexible Development Plan A Flexible Development Plan will be considered a complete submission upon receipt of all the information set forth in the following sections.
Review by Other Boards & Consultants
The Applicant shall submit the Flexible Development Plan to the Board of Health, Fire Chief, Building Inspector, Conservation Commission, Department of Public Works and Water Department. A copy of the Plan and accompanying reports and data shall also be submitted to Judith Nitsch Engineering, Inc. Proof of submittal shall be supplied to the Town Planner before scheduling the Public Hearing.
Fees (Review & Filing)
Refer to Article VII, Fee Schedule, Planning Board Rules and Regulations, Dated: November 20, 2002
On Site Inspection & Staking
The Planning Board will schedule a site walk(s). The following items need to be accurately staked : left and right side of paved way; left and right side of right of way; limit of clearing for road; buffer areas; lot lines; building envelope within lot lines; location of septic system; limit if clearing within the lots; storm water disposal system and limit of clearing; 100 foot buffer from vegetated wetland; 100 and 200 foot buffer as defined by the River Protection Act; Wetland and Floodplain District Line; any other items the Board feels is relevant to its decision making. The Applicant’s Engineer must be present at the Site Walk.
Types of Plans & Information Required
The Plans for each Flexible Development shall be prepared by a surveyor or engineer registered in Massachusetts and drawn on Mylar. Two copies of the Lotting Plan shall be provided to the Board in mylar and two sets of black or blue lines. Sheet size shall be 24 by 36 only, consecutively numbered, and drawn at a scale of either one inch to fifty feet or one inch to forty feet. The Plan shall contain, in addition to additional information required by the Board, the following information:
- Title block containing the name of the development
- The name of the Applicant
- Name and address of the engineer responsible for the Plan
- Imprint of the engineer’s professional registration stamp
- A title for each sheet
- A number for each sheet
- A visual scale
- A north arrow
- The date of original preparation and the date of any subsequent revisions, with the revisions noted
- Reference to a Special permit and Agreement and space for appropriate dates
- A notation on the Plan per Section VI.H.6.e. of the Weston Zoning By -Law.
The Applicant shall meet with the Town Planner concerning Design Standards and Buffer Requirements for a Flexible Development.
The Board will schedule a Public Hearing after receipt of a complete submission. The Town Planner is responsible for publication of the legal notice and notice to abutters.
Action by the Board
The Board will approve with conditions or disapprove a Flexible Development Plan. A Certificate of Action will be filed with the Town Clerk and copy of the decision will be mailed to the Applicant.
Endorsement of Lotting Plan
Prior to endorsement of the Lotting Plan: (1) the statutory appeal period must be over without an appeal filed: (2) All easements, deed restrictions, and other documents specified in the Special Permit conditions must be approved by the Planning Board and Town Counsel and executed; (3) The Applicant has executed an Agreement and Contract with the Planning Board (forms to be provided by the Town Planner); (4) the Applicant must deposit the requisite amount of inspection fees with the Town, as detailed in the document “Project Review Fees”; (5) all other conditions that were part of the approval and subject to action prior to endorsement must be satisfied
Time Limit on Approval of Flexible Development & Recordation of Plan
The Planning Board’s approval of a Flexible Development Plan will expire at the end of five months from the date of approval on the Certificate of Action unless: (1)The Lotting Plan, Special Permit, Agreement/Covenant, and all easements and deed restrictions are recorded in the Middlesex South Registry of Deeds or with the recorder of the Land Court; (2) Proof of recordation is provided to the Planning Board for each document and Plan including Instrument Number and Book and Page Number, stamped on the document(s).
Security for roadway improvements, storm water and landscaping will be calculated by the Planning Board and its consulting engineer. Security for installation of water mains to the project will be calculated by the Department of Public Works. The Applicant may provide security to the Town by: (1) By a bond approved by the Planning Board and Town Counsel sufficient in the opinion of the Planning Board to secure performance of the construction (2) deposit of money in the name of “Town of Weston”, in an amount sufficient in the opinion of the Planning Board to secure performance. Consult the Town Treasurer as to appropriate form; (3) A Tri-party Agreement between the subdivider, the Planning Board and the lender (the form of the Agreement approved by Town Counsel) in an amount sufficient in the opinion of the Planning Board to secure performance. See Planning Board Rules and Regulations for further discussion.
Release of Lots for Sale, Conveyance or Building
Lots in a Flexible Development will not be released for sale, conveyance or building until (a) proof of recordation of the Plan, easements and other documents are satisfactorily furnished to the Board; (b)All utilities have been installed in the road and binder course lain to the Board’s satisfaction; (c)the storm drainage system has been installed to the Board’s satisfaction, according to the approved Plan; (d) The Board retains sufficient surety. See Planning Board Rules and Regulations for further Discussion.
Release of Deposits
The Board may release from time to time a portion of the security deposited for the performance of contracts with the Board, provided that the work has been completed to the satisfaction of the Planning Board. The Planning Board has the sole discretion to determine the amount of security that will be released. Security may be released only after (a)The Board has received a written request from the subdivider; (b) the Board has received confirmation from the Fire Chief, Department of Public Works, and the Planning Board‘s Consulting Engineer that the work has been satisfactorily completed See Planning Board Rules and Regulations for further Discussion.
Withholding of Final Release
The Board shall with hold up to 50% of any security deposited until the Board is satisfied as to (a) pavement integrity after one winter (b) functional integrity of all parts of the drainage system; (c) permanent type grass, ground cover, and/or whatever landscaping has been specified by the Board on all areas; (d) shoulders and embankments intact; (e) provision of one reproducible of the full scale approved Flexible Definitive Subdivision Plan showing centerline elevations at 50 foot intervals of roads as built, all as built inverts of drainage systems as installed, all utilities as installed, and monuments as installed.
In situations where top course is lain on the road but two or more houses in a Flexible Development have not been constructed, the Board will retain an amount of security, sufficient in its opinion, to ensure that the road is not damaged and completed in a fashion satisfactory to the Board. See Planning Board Rules and Regulations for further Discussion.
Unless specified in these Regulations or conveyed to the Applicant by the Planning Board, the applicant should refer to the Design Standards promulgated in the Planning Board Rules and Regulations for Subdivision.
Street signs are approved by Planning Board and Weston DPW.
The Board will not approve a Flexible Development Plan unless water, suitable in the opinion of the Department of Public Works for fire protection and domestic use will be available throughout the development at a minimum standard of 750 gallons per minute open hydrant flow, with at least 20 pounds per square inch residual pressure. In addition, the applicant may be required to install booster pumps in buildings to assure at least 20 pounds per square inch pressure throughout such buildings.
Contact Weston Fire Department.
Street lights are prohibited in a Flexible Development unless expressly approved for a particular development.
Street Monuments shall be approved by the Planning Board as to type and location
Perimeter Boundary Monumentation
Perimeter Boundary Monumentation shall be approved by the Planning Board as to type and location
Storm Water shall be approved by the Planning Board and its consulting engineer as part of the approval process. Storm water shall be retained on site with rate of runoff identical or less post development from predevelopment.
Location of system, leaching area, and reserve area, and test pits and deep hole pits shall be witnessed and approved by the Weston Board of Health.
Any other information deemed necessary by the Weston Planning Board in order to make a decision on a Flexible Development.