THE PLANNING BOARD voted to extend the completion date for the Sagamore Place subdivision to May 31 during a recent meeting. (Dan Tomasello Photo)

 

By DAN TOMASELLO

LYNNFIELD — The Planning Board recently voted to extend the completion deadline for the Sagamore Place subdivision to the end of May, but the dispute between the developer and the homeowners is far from over.

Hannah’s View Estates, LLC owner David Deloury purchased Sagamore Place from former developer Angus Bruce in June 2020 after Bruce’s company went into foreclosure. The subdivision includes four lots on Sagamore Place while the fifth lot is located off upper Main Street.

A group of homeowners urged the Planning Board in late January to have the town take back the Sagamore Place subdivision’s bond. The homeowners wanted the town to finish paving the street, install permanent streetlights and fix the drainage system’s problems to prevent ongoing flooding issues from continuing.

After the January meeting took place, Planning Board Chairman Brian Charville and Planning and Conservation Director Emilie Cademartori spoke with Town Counsel Tom Mullen about taking the subdivision’s bond and having the town finish the remaining work.

“If the town took the bond, Town Meeting would have to vote to appropriate spending the money,” said Charville. “For that reason, town counsel has advised this board to submit a warrant article for Town Meeting that would allow the town to spend the money if the bond gets taken.”

Cademartori said if Town Meeting approves spending the bond, she said the earliest the town could begin finishing the remaining work is the middle of July because fiscal year 2023 will be underway at that point.

Atty. Robert Lavoie said Deloury has pledged to finish the subdivision’s work by this spring.

“As soon as weather permits, the final portion of the pavement for the road will be laid down,” said Lavoie. “Road silt accumulated in the retention basin will be cleaned out so it will function as it was designed.”

Charville said Deloury has pledged to complete all of the remaining work by Thursday, May 12. He said the permanent streetlights are supposed to be installed by the third week of April. He said Deloury is looking to plant trees by the last week of April.

“The shoulders are supposed to be loamed by the first week of May,” said Charville. “The drainage work is scheduled to be completed by the first week of May, and the clean up and final paving is supposed to be completed by the first week of May.”

Charville noted that some of the subdivision’s homes are still being constructed. He suggested that Deloury wait until the homes are completed before paving the roadway.

“If I knew there was still work being done on my home, I might not rush to have the final paving done,” said Charville.

Cademartori agreed.

“All heavy machinery should be gone before the final paving is done,” said Cademartori.

Lavoie was receptive to Charville and Cademartori’s suggestion.

“We will be guided by what the town’s preferences are and what the homeowners’ preferences are,” said Lavoie. “When the time comes for Town Meeting to accept the public way, the road’s pavement has to be pristine or the street is not going to be accepted.”

In response to a question from Charville, Deloury said three Sagamore Place homes “still have a good amount of work that needs to be completed.”

“The foundations are all done and the septic systems are all in,” said Deloury. “The hardscaping, driveway work and grading have to be finished, and swimming pools have to be installed. The Earth is still moving.”

Planning Board member Amy MacNulty asked when the three homes are supposed to be completed.

Dr. Peter Prokopis said he and his wife Claudine are hoping to move into 6 Sagamore Pl. this August. He preferred having the road paved after his new home is finished.

“We have to bring in a pool and do a lot of hardscape work,” said Dr. Propokis. “We are going to have a crane on the property in May to get the pool in.”

Costa Hatzis, who is the owner of 1 Sagamore Pl., is hoping to move into his home this spring or summer.

Town Engineer Patrick McAlpine said he has walked around the subdivision several times. He said the sidewalk near the Sagamore Place and Main Street intersection does not have the required Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ramps installed.

“That was called out on the plans,” said McAlpine. “There is no crosswalk across Main Street. I understand the developer might be waiting until the final paving is done, but I want to make sure that is completed before all of the work is all finished.”

Atty. Norman Orban, who is representing 5 Sagamore Pl. resident Jill Larsen, said his client is still concerned about Deloury Construction finishing the remaining work in the wake of the several issues that have occurred on her property.

“I think the tight deadline is encouraging,” said Orban.

Lavoie asked if the Planning Board would be open to extending Sagamore Place’s completion date to Labor Day.

Charville supported extending the subdivision’s completion date to May 31. He suggested that both sides give the board an update before the completion deadline.

“Do everything as fast and as well as possible, but don’t do anything stupid,” said Charville. “Don’t lay conduit that is going to be torn up, don’t lay a road that is going to be cracked and don’t put in a streetlight that is going to be in the way of an excavator.”

Lavoie expressed his support for Charville’s recommendations.

“Those are all reasonable,” said Lavoie.

Planning Board member Paige Wilkins suggested that Deloury and the homeowners hold a “kickoff meeting” with Cademartori and McAlpine by April 15 to see “what work has been done and what is left to be done.”

“That will make sure we don’t find out in May that nothing has been done,” said Wilkins.

Larsen requested that Deloury Construction fix the development’s retention ponds to prevent flooding.

“The water is going down the road in front of my house and it’s destroying my landscaping,” said Larsen. “I would like to make sure that gets fixed.”

Deloury said he will have his engineer take a look at the retention ponds. Deloury Construction General Manager Chris Ryder said he believes the recent flooding issues were caused by ice buildup.

Claudine Propokis said, “The ponds have been holding water since last August.”

“I don’t think it’s weather-related,” said Claudine. “I think it’s a big problem.”

Cademartori recalled that Sagamore Place was originally a two-lot subdivision when a previous incarnation of the Planning Board approved the definitive plan in 2008. She said the subdivision was expanded to five lots after a group of abutters filed a lawsuit against the subdivision’s first developer in Land Court.

The director said the Planning Board requested the subdivision’s second developer, Angus Bruce, to amend Sagamore Place’s original definitive plan so that the “the entire area of five lots could be incorporated into new stormwater calculations and design.”

“However, under state law, he was not required to do so,” said Cademartori in an email sent to the Villager. “Instead, he opted to apply for a permit under the Stormwater Bylaw. The disturbance of more than one acre of land requires such a permit. The application included the calculations and an amended design for the previously constructed basin. What makes it tricky is that the Stormwater Permit is administered through the Conservation Commission. The Conservation Commission does not have the same route for compliance, as they are not in control of the items. It becomes a matter of cooperation between the two boards and the applicant.”

Dr. Prokopis said during the meeting that Deloury and Bruce never told him about the Stormwater Permit issue.

“I may have to spend more money to redirect or filter some of this water through a true stormwater management system,” said Dr. Prokopis. “I can hear the cash register.”

Charville asked Cademartori to think about ways to address the Stormwater Permit problem.

After the discussion, the Planning Board voted to extend the Sagamore Place’s completion deadline to May 31. The Planning Board also voted to submit a warrant article for Spring Town Meeting that will seek to complete common area work for the Sagamore Place’s subdivision if Deloury does not follow through with his commitments.