BRATTLEBORO — After neighbors scrutinized some of the aesthetics associated with plans to replace an existing pump station on Guilford Street with a new and more noticeable one nearby, the town received approval from the Development Review Board with conditions seeking to allay the worries.
“The board focused on the neighbors’ concerns and tried to address them through the conditions,” Zoning Administrator Brian Bannon said Thursday.
The decision says all exterior lights, except decorative fixtures of less than 20 watts LED, must be fully shielded and cannot cast glare off the site. Bannon will need to approve the light fixtures and a snow-management plan.
A stockade fence will need to be erected to enclose the generator. A sound-deadening mat will need to be hung to limit noise from the generator.
“There shall be additional front yard landscaping between the edge of paving and the building,” states the decision.
The town also is being asked to explore locating the driveway to the south of the building to minimize impact to wetlands.
After a deliberative session Tuesday, the DRB voted unanimously to issue a decision containing the conditions. Neighbors to the project weighed in at a hearing during the board’s July 21 meeting.
“Abutters expressed concern that the structure did not harmonize with the residential character of the area, that the natural values of the site be preserved or restored, that mature trees be maintained,” meeting minutes state, adding that other worries had to do with lighting, landscaping, drainage, driveway/parking spot size, demolition, noise and construction easements.
Richard Zucker, who owns property across from the site, had asked the board not to overlook improving the aesthetic experience of neighbors. He also worried about noise from a generator and the effects of proposed lighting.
At the hearing, Andrea Watkins of Brattleboro said she doesn’t think the project fits into the bucolic nature of the neighborhood where her friends reside. She described the proposed building being “the equivalent of a large shed or a tiny house but out at where the sidewalks will be.”
Proposed is the construction of a prefabricated building that would be about 30 feet long, 10.5 feet wide and 10 feet tall on a parcel the town purchased last year for the purpose. It is planned to be about 50 feet south of the existing station.
The existing station was described as a small concrete vault, partially buried in the ground with an above-grade roof structure — it’s about 6.5 feet wide and 8.5 long.
Project engineer Chrissy Haskins of Dufresne Group told the board the new pump station will continue to serve 14 customers in the neighborhood as the existing one had and it will provide additional fire protection through an existing hydrant on Guilford Street just south of the pump station that will be connected to the water system. Hydrants also will be added at the intersections of Hillcrest Terrace and Guilford Street, and Signal Hill Drive and Hillcrest Terrace.
The existing station will only be partially demolished due to the desire to keep the surrounding trees. The plan is to remove the roof, take out internal components, and cap pipes and water lines.
Haskins said to conform with the state’s water supply rule, the pump station will need to be readily accessible at all times and protected against entry from vandals or animals. It also will need to be weather resistant and have alarms, heating, ventilation, at least one more pump, and adequate space for additional pumps as well as safe and efficient servicing of equipment.