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Developer presents plans at public hearing

By Levon Kinney

Staff Intern

WILBRAHAM At a hearing conducted by the Planning Board of Wilbraham on Oct.11, developer Thomas Bretta proposed plans for Eastwood Drive Extension. They included adding a cul-de-sac to the end of the street, a subdivision of two houses and a detention basin that would collect the water run-off from the site.

The total land parcel is approximately 4.8 acres and will be divided into a 2.8 acre lot and a 1.4 acre lot, with the size of the houses ranging from 3,800 to 4,000 sq. feet.

Gary Weiner, engineer for Ecotec Environmental Associates, Inc., presented the plans to the Board.

"Of the 4.8 acres of land that Bretta owns, two acres are protected from development due to the endangered Worm Snake population," said Weiner.

The cul-de-sac would extend Eastwood Drive by 165 feet and would provide all vehicles, public and private, a place to turn around, which would bring the area up to current safety regulations.

Clearing the wooded site would cause much of the rain water to run off and erode the surrounding area, therefore a basin would be created at the bottom of the property and would collect the excess water, Weiner said.

"Under drain piping would remove the water from ponding up," Weiner explained.

The Department of Public Works (DPW) is responsible for the maintenance of the detention basin and will create a "green-access road," which is a gravel based road covered in grass, Weiner said.

David Graziano of Eastwood Drive questioned the safety and the visibility of the basin.

"Will there be a chain link fence surrounding the basin, and will wet-land plants be planted in the area to obstruct the view of the basin?" Graziano asked.

"It is up to the DPW to decide about the fence and plants," Edward Stevenson, chairman of the Planning Board, replied.

Weiner also explained that the houses will be hooked up to the town water supply and the Springfield sewer systems. A fire hydrant also will be installed on the extension, making it easier for the Fire Department to service the street during an emergency.

Julie Phelps, another resident of Eastwood Drive, was concerned about the removal of trees from the property and the effect it would have on the area.

"Are there any regulations or codes that Mr. Bretta will have to follow?" Phelps inquired.

Weiner answered that the Open Space codes, "will protect a large part of the land."

Thomas Bretta, who also is involved in an upscale housing development in 16 Acres, assured the Board and the audience that he will not change the area more than necessary.

"I will live in one of the subdivisions and plan to keep with the theme of the neighborhood," Bretta said. "My kids live in the area and I will keep much of the land wooded."

At the time of the hearing the DPW had neither viewed or approved the plans and the hearing was continued to Oct. 25 to give proper time to review the proposal.