Note: This article was originally printed in the June 3 Edition of Sippican Week. The online version can be seen here.
Mattapoisett — The controversy surrounding an amendment to the Brandt Point Village housing development was resolved Monday night with the Planning Board denying the development’s request.
In 2006, the Planning Board approved a proposal from the Brandt Island Realty Trust for a 41-house development off of Brandt Island Road. The permit, as initially given, allowed for the construction of two- and three-bedroom houses for a total of 90 bedrooms.
The developer recently submitted a request that would give every home three bedrooms to meet a change in market demand, said Trust attorney John Williams.
While the footprint of the house would not change, Williams said that many buyers would use a room designed as an office or a den in the two-bedroom houses as an extra bedroom anyway.
The increase in the number of total bedrooms in the development, from 90 to 123, would require an increase in the size of the septic system, which has already been installed.
Several abutters complained at the board’s May 19 meeting, saying that the existing septic system and construction had already caused the water table to rise, affecting their wells.
“The aquifer was definitely changed when the lots went in,” Geoff King said at the prior meeting. “You’re putting a larger system in the ground. It’s going to affect it again.”
Neighbors also said runoff was causing flooding on adjacent properties.
On Monday, the board voted 3-2 to deny the developer’s request to increase the number of bedrooms. The board reasoned that the existing drainage and runoff issues would only be further aggravated by a larger system. In addition, the board noted that more bedrooms would mean more residents and traffic in an already dense area.
“I feel it was sufficient to have 90 bedrooms in this dense area surrounded by wetlands,” said board member Karen Field.
Planning Board Chair Thomas Tucker said the developer could have reduced the number of houses and made them all three bedrooms while remaining within the permit limits.
“I gave him (the developer) an option. Thirty three-bedroom houses. Go with 30 and get the 90 bedrooms. He didn’t want that option,” said Tucker. “We did everything based on 90 bedrooms and after the fact he stated that two-bedroom homes don’t sell. Why even make two-bedroom homes? He never answered that.”
Tucker pointed out that the board hasn’t taken anything away from the developer, saying the trust can still build the homes with the previously approved 90 bedrooms.
“He asked for 90 back in 2006. He still has 90. We didn’t take anything away.”