HARWICH — The planning board has approved a site plan review waiver for the Cranberry Valley Golf Course cart barn project, which town officials argued is necessary to get work underway so it does not interfere with course operations in the spring.
Town Administrator Christopher Clark told the board last week the town needs to have a building permit before it can order the metal barn structure, which will take eight to 10 weeks to arrive. It will go up fast once on site, Clark said, but if the town has to wait for a full site plan approval the project would be delayed.
“The waiver will allow us to do the work without affecting the golf season,” he said.
Former town planner Aly Sabatino, who returned to assist with the hearing last Tuesday, told the board the existing site where the new cart barn is to be located has already been cleared and graded in violation of conservation regulations.
Clark explained a decision was made to try and save the taxpayers money by not hiring a project manager and basic prep work “went a little too far, but it was not malicious intent.”
The golf department hired Northern Tree Service of Sandwich to remove trees at the site of the new cart barn. Clark said they did a little too much work; workers mistook the 50-foot no disturb stake for the 100-foot wetlands buffer stake and 257 square feet of area within those zones were impacted.
Conservation Administrator Amy Usowski said there was some clearing beyond the limit of work. The conservation commission addressed the issue in early November, requiring the town to replant the disturbed area within the wetland buffer zone. She said the planning board requested a full landscape plan.
Usowski said she is working with the golf department and Town Engineer Robert Cafarelli to choose the types of plantings for the site. She said the town is looking at replanting about 600 square feet of grounds.
The town's department of public works went in and cleared the stumps left by the contractor and relocated soil and brought fill in to grade the site. The plan calls for relocation of a fuel tank to complete the final year of use of gas golf carts before converting to electric carts, the demolition of the two existing cart barns and the construction of the new cart barn.
The town has now hired a landscape architect to re-design the parking configurations, create a new entry and arrival area and a new destination point for the cart barn area. New trees will be planted and a landing/patio space will be added with benches.
Clark emphasized the need to order the building structure, but the contract cannot be issued without the building permit, and the permit cannot be issued without a site plan or a waiver. Clark told the board they would come back within 60 days with the complete site plan package for review.
Planning board member James Atkinson said he had grave concerns about granting the waiver without reviewing a fully-fledged plan for the project. He questioned why it is being developed incrementally. Clark said while the building is a pre-fab structure, they have to build out a foundation and retaining walls and the waiver is necessary to get that work started. He said the waiver is just for the building; the landscape plan that will be done will define traffic flow and parking layout and that will come when the site plan review is filed.
Golf Department Director Roman Greer said the course opens in April. “We don't want to open and have construction equipment there. We want to get as much done as we can by April,” Greer said.
Board member David Harris said they are already up against a tight scheduled, especially if they run into weather problems.
Board member Mary Maslowski wanted assurances the project would mirror the approval of the planning board. Clark said he did not see a problem, citing ground penetrated radar that showed the land below the proposal cart barn is filled material and should pose no problem.
The planning board approved the waiver on a 6-1 vote with Atkinson dissenting. Selectmen on Monday night approved a contract agreement with J.J. Cardosi, Inc. for $545,000 to construct the golf cart barn.