Helmis Circle 40B project update from member and Helmis Circle neighbor Ed Jaloweic:
Both the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) and Conservation Commission (ConCom) have approved the Helmis Circle 40B project. The developer has appealed the ConCom decision to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on several points and that appeal is still pending. The major issues include areas of jurisdiction, limits of work, and monitoring of the project during all development.
The ZBA decision is also being appealed in Superior Court by an abutter. There have been no updates on the status of that appeal which was filed last week.
During many hearings over the past year, by both the ZBA and ConCom, numerous issues were raised by neighbors and board members. Some significant changes were made to the project to address a few of these concerns. Site elevation has been reduced so that it will remain at existing levels rather than being increased to direct runoff onto abutters’ properties. A poorly designed open trench drainage system, originally proposed, has been eliminated. The storm water management system has been redesigned after the ZBA required a peer review of the first plan submitted. The ability of that system to handle heavy rainfall remains a concern of neighbors. Long-term maintenance of the system will be the responsibility of the Homeowners Association once that is formed. Until that time the developer will remain responsible.
A solid wood stockade fence will be installed to shield abutters on Alma Road from the project. Concerns remain about the integrity of the coastal bank after removal of most of the trees and vegetation on the site. The ConCom attempted to address this with some of their conditions that are now under appeal.
Due to concerns from the public and ConCom members, a turtle protection plan will be in place during all construction. Also, a rail fence will be installed instead of stockade to the north of the site to permit passage of wildlife.
Lastly, the developer offered to eliminate all proposed garages if the ZBA allowed all 28 houses. The ZBA Board accepted this offer.
Also see: Falmouth Enterprise, 8/10/18, page 6: “Falmouth ZBA Continues Discussion on Alma Road 40b Project“.
Also see: Cape Cod Times, 9/19,21/18, online: “Neighbors sue to block Falmouth housing plan“.