Chester Planning Board Reschedules Cassista Hearing

CHESTER – While the planning board seemed generally in favor of a two-lot subdivision request from Chester College of New England, the board did not approve the request pending a couple of outstanding questions.
Last week’s hearing was for a request from the college to pull out, from its approximately 70 acres, a 1.7 acre piece that currently holds Nutting Hall. That piece already has zoning board approval for resident Phil Cassista’s plans to use the property for office space for his Nashua technology firm Impellimax, and for a side business of creating specialty electric harps.

Engineering company TF Moran has been working with the college and on Wednesday, Aug. 7, project manager Jason Hill explained the plans for the subdivision. Hill noted that much of the design for the property has focused on keeping its aesthetic appearance unchanged, per community request.
While originally the college was looking to have the planning board hear a three-lot subdivision request, after it failed to obtain Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) approval for a third piece, that request was amended. The college is still working with the ZBA on the third lot.

One of the outstanding issues noted by planning board members included the change from three to two lots, but ultimately it was agreed that it was largely a matter of protocol that could easily be fixed. The problem was the discrepancy between the documents the planning board had, which indicated three lots, and the amended subdivision request for two lots.

Another outstanding question was whether the property needed a variance from a town ordinance that restricts structures within the property buffer. The unique property has a parking lot within that buffer and planning board members were unsure about whether this was allowed by town ordinance. Driveways are allowed within that buffer.

The last outstanding issue was the need for third party review of the plan by town engineer Dubois and King.
The hearing was rescheduled for Sept. 4 at 7:45 p.m., and it was expected that the outstanding issues raised last week could be answered or rectified then.

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