Floyd School Condos Get Conservation Commission OK

The upgrading of the former Floyd School site on Highland Avenue got another step closer to approval last week, when the Conservation Commission agreed to have Chairman Margaret Ives sign off on the plan.

Karl Dubay, the engineer for the development, appeared before the Commission Feb. 23 to discuss the changes on the site.

The site is at 37 Highland Ave., and will be called Highland Place. The former school, which was taken off-line at the building of the Ernest P. Barka Elementary School, will be taken down and replaced with 20 townhouse-style condominiums.

Dubay told the Commission that the site is 1 3/4 acres and served by town sewer and water.

The original plan called for remodeling the old school into 19 apartments, Dubay said, but the developer realized that it was “almost impossible from a code standpoint” to convert the building.

Dubay said the project will meet the new criteria for multifamily housing, including 15 percent recreational space. The open space is more than is required by the ordinance, he said, and the stormwater recharge plan is adequate, with good soils. Dubay said the project is in its final round of discussions with the TRC (Technical Review Committee) and he expects a final discussion with the Planning Board in the near future.

Ives, referencing the current winter, asked about a snow removal plan.

Dubay said the Homeowners Association would be responsible for that, and there is also a “snow management area” at the end of the private way.

Ives pressed, “With the extra snow we’ve had this winter, the only way is to get it out.”

The complex will be densely populated, Ives said, and it will be a “challenge” to do snow removal.

The Commission expressed concern about the growth of bittersweet, an invasive species. Dubay said removing it was part of the plan and it would be rooted out before construction began.

Member Eileen Chabot was concerned about the use of hay bales for erosion control, noting that hay can often bring invasive species onto a property, and Dubay agreed to replace any hay bales with straw.

Chabot also wondered about the stockpiling of materials and the maintenance of catchbasins. She asked for more information about the size of the “riprap” used in erosion control and noted that the use of sand in snow and ice control could lead to clogged pipes.

Dubay said that was a possibility but added that condo owners usually don’t like sand, and they direct their developers not to put sand down on the roads. “Homeowners Associations hate sand,” he told the Commission.

The Commission agreed to have Ives sign the plan with the provisions that Dubay determine the size of the riprap to be used, use a silt fence and straw instead of hay, maintain the catch basin, improve the erosion control plan and make sure the plan for dealing with invasive plants is copied to the site preparation plan.