The Planning Board met briefly Tuesday night to further discuss possible changes to the town’s subdivision regulations. They reviewed a set of regulations provided by the Franklin Regional Council of Governments as a template and wanted to keep the section on performance guarantees largely intact. The section provided instructions for guaranteeing performance with a bond or with a covenant, and it specified that in the event of developer bankruptcy, the town expects to be paid before any creditors. Planning Board Clerk Pat Smith suggested requiring a certified engineer to sign off on roads bef ore a performance bond is released.
One thing the board did change from the FRCOG template was a requirement of cul de sacs. They did not feel it was necessary to require cul de sacs to be built with the option of connecting to other roads in years to come. Some towns saw the requirement as a compromise between banning cul de sacs outright and having too many dead ends, but board members didn’t think there would ever be enough development in Orange to necessitate connecting cul de sacs with other roads. Their current notion is to include some of the language, but make allowances if the developer can show that a future connection is very unlikely.
The board will still need to hear from the fire department before they decide how spacious the turnaround at the end of a cul de sac should be, since that will be determined by the size of emergency vehicles. They removed a section which states a dry sewer may be required if town sewer is a possibility within five years, as well as a section which strongly encouraged developers to align their roadways and houses to maximize sunlight in the winter.
While they felt the regulations should encourage recreational green space in each development, they agreed that a park for town use should not be required. They also added a sentence specifying that “there is no presumption that the town of Orange will accept” any new roads as town roads, instead requiring homeowners associations to maintain and plow their own roads. The board will present their notes on the template when they next meet with representatives from FRCOG.