The disallowed vehicle crossing from The Crossings Plaza to the abutting office building parking lot should be temporarily barricaded this week.
The news came in an update by the Town Planner at last night’s Planning Board meeting. That’s 6 months after the Town began looking into the driveway that was suddenly installed without approvals.
The news was welcome for Planning members upset that a compromise plan using jersey barriers – which they hadn’t approved – hadn’t been delivering as promised. Members drove through gaps between some of the barriers.
A neighbor also commented that even some drivers that parked behind the barriers weren’t complying with the compromise’s intent. She observed people walking over to to the office building. Presumably, some 144 Turnpike Road tenants were parking on the 154 Turnpike side of barriers so that they could access Breakneck Hill Road at the end of the day.
Yet, since developer William Depietri has been working with the Town, he hasn’t been fined for violating the site plan or for the continued access between barriers. Depietri and his assistant recently sat down with Planner Karina Quinn. They told her to expect an application to modify the site plans for 144 & 154 Turnpike Road next week for a hearing to open in June.
Yesterday morning, the Town responded to my recent public records request. Based on that and my observations, here is the communication timeline around the issue:
- November 27th – Karina Quinn sends a letter to the believed owner (Frank Rossi) of the two properties about the recently discovered driveway connecting them. She asks for information on why the pavers were installed and informs him of a planned December 3rd discussion at a Planning Board meeting. (Subsequently, she discovers that the correct current owner is Depietri and sends letters to him. I don’t have that date.)
- December 3rd – The Planning Board publicly discusses the issue and opines it violates conditions of the 144 Turnpike Rd Site Plan that forbade any access to Breakneck Hill Road. Quinn updates that Depietri agreed to appear before the board on the issue in January. (Note, at this point, the Town has an interim Building Commissioner following the resignation of Mark Robidoux in the fall.)
- December 4th – Laurie Livoli is hired as the new Building Commissioner to start in mid-January.
- January 28th – Depietri informs the board that the pavers were installed specifically to allow tenants of the 144 office building to access Breakneck Hill Road. He defends his right to add the connection between the two properties he owns. The board disagrees and states that the developer should return the plan to meet conditions and then apply for a site plan modification. Depietri asserts that he won’t consider making changes unless the Building Commissioner sends him a letter confirming it is a violation. Quinn tells the board that the Commissioner is still getting settled having just started the job mid-month.
- February 27th – Livoli issues a letter to Depietri stating that the driveway violates the Site Plan conditions.* The letter states:
Failure to comply with an agreed upon endorsed remediation with the Building Commissioner and Planning Board, and others if required within (30) seven business days may result in fines or possible court action.
- March 20th – Depietri responds to the letter with a plan to cordon off the parking lots – but not closing the connection.* Instead, he proposes placing 12 jersey barriers with 5 foot gaps that section off part of the 144 parking lot as additional parking for the 154 property. Livoli responds that she will forward that info to Quinn.
- March 27th – Livoli emails Depietri, stating that Quinn informed her that based on the January meeting:
the board would like the property either brought back to the approved site plans in the past or revise those approvals at the next meeting. . .
She offers to extend the deadline 30 days. Depeitri immediately responds that he will “go with the revised approvals” but isn’t sure he can get it done in 30 days. She returns that there’s no problem on the 30 days, she’ll just use it as a reminder to check on the status. She informs Quinn of the status.
- March 28th – Quinn’s emails with Livoli state that she appreciates the temporary solution but the Planning Board wants him to apply for modifications through the official process. She confirms Livoli’s plan, says she will follow up with Depietri on his schedule to submit applications, but makes no indication that the driveway needs to be blocked.
- April 8th – Quinn updates the board. The Board discusses the plan and opines that it isn’t sufficient. Membrs agree that they can’t approve an interim measure. They assert that the properties needs to return to site plan compliance while the developer applies for a modification. Quinn indicates she isn’t sure if barriers were installed yet.
- [April 11th – I confirm that at some point prior, Depietri did install the jersey barriers as he proposed.]
- April 23rd – Quinn emails Livoli to recap the April 8th discussion. It appears to be the first time she has notified Livoli that the board did not agree with the developer’s temporary solution. In a back and forth, she explains that the barriers do not block the driveway and are wide enough between for cars to drive through them. She updates that Depietri is submitting a modification application by May 9th for a June 3rd hearing.
- April 24th – Livoli informs Quinn that she will send a letter to Depietri and a copy to Quinn, but doesn’t specify what it will state.
- April 29th – Quinn informs the board that barriers will be moved to block off the driveway access and updates them on the application and hearing schedule. She indicates that to her knowledge, no fines are being imposed.
*I formally requested written communications from between the Town Planner (Karina Quinn), Building Commissioner (Laurie Livoli) and the developer (William Depietri) since the start of the year. You can read the compiled packet here.