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October 26, 2016
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New Chapin development lauded; emergency services a concern

Despite all the praise, there was one area of concern: the project will be located at the end of a six-mile dead-end road, which will present a challenge to emergency service providers. Martin Miller, who was serving as the planning board attorney, said that, despite all of the positive economic impacts, a six-mile dead-end road was a formidable obstacle to overcome.

Terresa Bakner, the attorney for the developer, said that the developer had taken many steps to mitigate that concern, including adopting three cul-de-sacs into the plan, where emergency vehicles could turn around; building the road with wider shoulders than necessary; and creating a pond from which water could be drawn to fight possible forest fires.

The planning board voted in favor of granting approval for the project to move forward, with the condition that the Town of Lumberland sign contracts with fire and ambulance services from the Town of Bethel as it would not be practical for Lumberland emergency service providers to serve the development.

It was noted during the meeting that there was a recent proposed zoning element that would have mandated conservation subdivisions in all subdivisions of five lots or more. Had that zoning element remained as it was instead of being changed from “mandated” to “suggested,” the Chapin project could not have been developed as planned, as the developer would have been required to set aside land as open space.

The campaign to change the conservation subdivision element from mandatory to optional was publicly spearheaded by builder Charles Petersheim and others, but Dubrovsky also clearly benefited from the change.