CPDC Reviews Plans for Sub-Division

The Community Planning and Development Commission reviewed initial plans for a small two-house subdivision on Harold Avenue at its meeting on April 3. Harold Avenue is a private way situated off Van Norden Road. The piece of property in question is four acres in size, much of which is considered wetlands. The proposal is to set aside 2.6 acres of the property as conservation land possibly accessed by a trail, which the developer would construct. The rest of the property would be developed into two single-family homes with a private combined driveway at the end of Harold Avenue. The homes would be between 2,200 and 2,600 square feet each. If the plans as presented are followed through with, each lot would be conforming to current regulations and would not require variances from either the Conservation Commission or the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Will Finch, member of the Reading Trails Committee, expressed support of the project as it helps with long-term town goals of providing trail access from the area over to Forest Street, helping provide more passive recreation opportunities in town. There was concern about the project raised by a few abutters at the meeting. The major concern is whether or not the lots have right-of-way access to Harold Avenue, as it is a private road. “Harold Ave. access could be the deal breaker.” commented Commission member David Tuttle. Concern was also raised about the trail itself and whether or not the lots need to abide by a sub-division bylaw that states that residential properties cannot be built on if they are not six feet above the grade of a nearby body of water, in this case a small stream that runs through the property.

Abutters also expressed concern that they had been told when this property was split off from property at 116 Van Norden Road two years ago, that it was to be classified as unbuildable. “There was not enough frontage on Harold Avenue at the time to classify this a buildable lot.” explained Jack Sullivan, project engineer. “Creating a right of way as this plan does allows enough frontage to make this parcel buildable.”

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