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Planning Board Reviews Modifications to Verizon Building

By Courtney Taylor, Master Control

No vote was taken on a modification to the Verizon building at 35 Hayden Rowe Street during the Planning Board meeting on Monday, May 12. An addition at the front and rear of the site will include a generator and other mechanical equipment which the Planning Board requested to have expected noise levels for. Dennis Gray and Colleen Anderson from Gray Architects were present to represent Verizon.

The exterior of the existing one-story brick building at 35 Hayden Rowe Street will not be changed except for the addition of a door, and two false windows suggested by the Design Review Board. A single light will be installed at the door in order to conform to Massachusetts building code. A motion sensitive light was proposed as a consideration for the light. Electrical services and grounding services will be housed underground, and there will be a new sewer connection to the building. Two infiltration systems will be added to handle any increase in runoff as the impervious surface area on the site is increased. A new air conditioner is proposed for the site as well.

The main changes proposed to the site are two additions in the front and rear of the building. The addition in front will replace a portable generator and a piece of mechanical equipment and will house some electrical equipment. The addition in the rear of the site will house mechanical equipment and will have sound fencing around it. A new, larger permanent generator is proposed for the rear of the site with sound housing around it and additional 10 ft. sound fencing around it. The generator would only run when there is a power outage and during weekly testing, done on weekdays anytime from 7:00 AM-7:00 PM. The generator engine will be in the middle of the site and the fuel tank will be stored under the generator.

Many abutters were concerned about the proposed location of the generator and the potential noise and fumes that would be created. The proposed generator location is close to two property lines, although it is within property setbacks. Abutters were concerned that the new air conditioner would add to the sound made by the new generator, and that noise from the generator would spill over the sound fencing. A generator had been in the back of the site before and diesel fumes were spilling into residents’ homes. As a result, the generator was moved to the front of the site. Residents felt that fumes would be going back into their homes if the generator was again moved to the back of the site.

Because of the location of the generator and the concerns made by abutters, Board Chairman Ken Weismantel stated that, “If you decide to move that more central on the property, that would probably be better…”

However, Weismantel also recognized that the site is already full and was not sure how much flexibility there would be. Gray stated that he would discuss it with the engineers who laid out the plans. The Board also suggested looking into using natural gas for the generators which would address any problems with fumes. Screening was suggested by the Design Review Board and Planning Board, with a hedge proposed by the Design Review Board on the corner of the lot. The Planning Board suggested looking for trees and shrubs to add in back that could provide screening for abutters.

The Board requested to have a report of sound levels that are to be expected coming from the site, and so no vote was taken. The hearing was continued to June 2 at 8:00 PM. Gray and Anderson will also be before the Board of Appeals on Wednesday, May 14 because the lot is undersized and the site does not meet two setback requirements.