Town of Agawam, MA
Hampden County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 159-6 Preliminary plan.

A. 
General.
(1) 
An application for approval of a preliminary plan of a subdivision shall be submitted to the Planning Board by the applicant, who is defined in § 159-3. The submission of such a preliminary plan will enable the subdivider, the Board, other municipal agencies and owners of property abutting the subdivision to discuss and clarify the problems of such subdivision before a definitive plan is prepared.
(2) 
A definitive plan will not be reviewed unless a preliminary plan has been submitted and subsequently approved. Rules and regulations in effect at the time of the definitive submission shall apply unless the definitive plan is submitted within seven months of the date of preliminary submission, in which case the rules and regulations in effect on the earlier date shall still apply.
B. 
Method of submission.
(1) 
An application for approval of a preliminary plan shall be submitted within 14 days prior to the first regular meeting of the Board for that month. The application shall be placed on the agenda for review on the first regular meeting of the month. If the application is deemed incomplete, the Board, by vote, may reject the plan, and no further action shall be taken by the Board until the applicant resubmits an amended application. The decision shall be filed with the Town Clerk; the applicant shall be notified by certified mail.
(2) 
Notice shall be given to the Town Clerk when the preliminary application is filed with the Planning Board. A filing fee of $25 plus $5 per acre or any part thereof shall accompany the application. Payment shall be made by check payable to the Town of Agawam. Should the application be determined to be incomplete, the fee shall be returned and all privileges shall be voided.
C. 
Contents of application.
(1) 
Preliminary submissions shall include the following:
(a) 
A completed Form B.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Form B is on file in the Planning Department offices.
(b) 
A statement of interest in the land by the applicant.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: The statement of interest is on file in the Planning Department offices.
(c) 
A location map of the site and surroundings sufficient to locate the site from existing intersections, pump stations, etc. The scale shall be one inch equals 1,200 feet.
(d) 
An environmental study. The environmental study need not be compiled by a professional agency. The applicant may make the observation and determinations himself, with such assistance from engineers, nursery men, etc. as is necessary for accuracy in the technical areas. Photographs to support the observations should be included. The short form contained in Chapter 30, § 62, of the Massachusetts Environmental Act may be used for guidance. The study shall be presented in report form with drawings or maps as needed for clarification. The study shall contain:
[1] 
The relationship of the proposed development to the Master Plan, Zoning Map, policies and controls for the affected area.
[2] 
Existing topography, water table, drainage features, natural geologic elements, stands or groves of trees, shrub rows or other wildlife habitats, scenic qualities, easements and rights above, on or under the land and the current nature of man's use of the area; a topographic sheet with existing and finished contours at two-foot intervals; spot elevations as needed. Contour lines shall extend at a minimum 30 feet beyond the property lines.
[3] 
The effect of the proposed development, both positive and negative, upon the environment, including consideration of those elements in Subsection C(1)(d)[2] above; visual, including but not limited to aesthetic considerations and signs and architectural elevations; traffic, pedestrian and vehicular, within and in the surrounding areas servicing the proposal; solid waste containment and disposal; air and water quality; also radiation and hazardous substances control; historic architectural and archaeological preservation; and outdoor recreation, if involved in existing or proposed development. Does the proposal involve a filing under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act, MGL c. 131, § 40?
(e) 
A preliminary plan, which shall include:
[1] 
A lot survey with existing easements, abutters and zone lines; existing streets abutting the proposal (type of street, see § 159-8B).
[2] 
A topographic plan showing:
[a] 
Existing contours at two-foot intervals extending at least 30 feet beyond the property lines.
[b] 
Environmental elements, including such things as the following: all areas regulated by the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act, MGL c. 131, § 40, shall be verified by the Agawam Conservation Commission through a determination of applicability; existing stone walls, fences, existing buildings, trees with a diameter greater than eight inches measured five feet above the ground, shrub rows, rock ridges and outcroppings, water bodies and any other noteworthy feature of the land.
[c] 
Proposed street and lot lines sketched in; spot grades on the center lines of streets (high spots, low point, intersection); indication of the types of streets. (See Article IV, Design Standards.)
[3] 
Indication of sewerage, water and surface water systems.
(f) 
An attested copy of the deed of the property.
(2) 
Plans shall be presented in one original plus four copies, minimum. Other documents shall be presented in two copies. One set will be returned to the applicant as endorsed.
D. 
Action of the Board. The Board shall confer with any boards or commissions which have an interest in the proposal. Within 45 days after submission of a preliminary plan, the Board shall approve, approve with amendments or disapprove the plan. The applicant shall be notified by certified mail. The Town Clerk also shall be notified. In the case of disapproval, the Board shall state in detail its reasons therefor. Section 81S of Chapter 40 of the Massachusetts General Laws shall apply. The Planning Board shall also notify abutters to the proposal of the submission and shall have the submission available for their review at the Town Hall.

§ 159-7 Definitive plan.

A. 
Timing.
(1) 
No person shall submit a definitive plan of a subdivision to the Planning Board for approval unless a preliminary plan has been approved by the Board. The definitive plan shall not vary substantially from the approved preliminary plan.
(2) 
The definitive plan shall conform to the applicable Zoning Ordinance.
B. 
Method of submission.
(1) 
An application for approval of a definitive plan shall be submitted within 14 days prior to the second regular meeting of the Board for the month.
(2) 
The application shall be placed on the agenda for submission review on the second regular meeting of the month. If the application is deemed incomplete, the applicant will be notified by certified mail that the plans will not be further reviewed and that after the required public hearing the Board, by vote, may reject the plans due to improper submission.
(3) 
If, prior to the public hearing, the applicant completes the application, the amended submission shall be accompanied by a request for an appropriate extension of time.
(4) 
The applicant shall file by delivery or registered mail a notice with the Town Clerk stating the date of application for such approval and accompanied by a copy of the complete application (Form C).[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Form C is on file in the Planning Department offices.
(5) 
A filing fee of $150 plus $60 per acre or any part thereof shall accompany the application. Payment shall be by check payable to the Town of Agawam.
(6) 
Land which is to be secured by conservation easement or deeded to the Town as public open space and is so indicated on the plan shall not be subject to the acreage filing fee.
C. 
Contents of application. Submission of a definitive plan application shall include the following:
(1) 
A statement of interest in the land by the applicant.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: The statement of interest is on file in the Planning Department offices.
(2) 
An attested copy of the deed of the property.
(3) 
An updated environmental study (reference to previous study and to include any changes which have occurred in the time interval).
(4) 
Final plans and specifications as required:
(a) 
A title sheet showing the index to drawings and a location map at a scale of one inch equals 1,200 feet.
(b) 
A lot survey with road layout and lot lines suitable for filing with the Registry of Deeds. See Subsection G(2). Roadway layout, roadway center line, and property lines shall be tied into the Agawam Coordinate System. Coordinate traverse point locations can be obtained from the Engineering Division. After the definitive plan is approved, the applicant shall provide the Engineering Division with a computer disk containing the following: Coordinates of roadway layout and center line data, property line data, and all plan and profile drawings. The computer disk shall be supplied in an AutoCAD or DXF format, unless otherwise specified by the City Engineer.
[Amended 12-5-1996]
(c) 
A topographic sheet with existing and finished contours at two-foot intervals; spot elevations as needed. Contour lines shall extend at a minimum 30 feet beyond the property lines. Center lines of roads with stations and elevations shall be shown. Where septic tanks and leach fields are being used, areas of leach fields shall be shown by spot elevations. The general location of proposed buildings shall also appear on this plan, and the finished grade of land at the four corners.
(d) 
Road layouts and profiles, including those of all utilities. (See Article IV.) Curb cuts and driveways within the street line shall be shown.
(e) 
Detail sheets as needed.
(5) 
A statement of the time-development sequence.
(6) 
A plan showing the sequence of development. All bonding must conform to these divisions.
(7) 
A Town-development relationship study, for information purposes only:
(a) 
The impact on utilities and services which will be required to service the development.
(b) 
The tentative sale price of houses, type of housing and square footage of finished living space per unit.
(8) 
A report of test borings and soil samples, water table tests and soil absorption tests (percolation tests):
(a) 
Borings and soil samples. Borings and soil tests shall be made by a reputable soil testing firm approved by the Town Engineer. Borings shall be made in general every 250 feet along the center line of each roadway or closer if required by the Town Engineer and in easements at the discretion of the Town Engineer. The borings shall extend to a depth of one foot below the deepest utility. The borings should be shown on the profiles of the construction plans and should indicate the type of soil and the depths at which they are encountered, the standard penetration resistance (N) of each type of soil and the elevation of the water table. In addition, soil samples shall be taken at the street borings of the material which will form the subgrade of the proposed roadways. A sieve analysis shall be made of these samples with the percent passing the one-half-inch, No. 4, No. 10, No. 40 and No. 200 sieves being reported. Also, the liquid limit, plasticity index and group index of the samples shall be determined and reported. The developer may provide test pit logs from backhoe-dug test pits at the above-described locations. These test pits will be provided at the developer's option and will not necessarily relieve him of the requirements for penetration tests and samples noted above.
(b) 
Soil absorbency tests and water table observation tests.
[1] 
All percolation tests (soil absorbency tests) shall be made at the final location and elevation of the proposed leaching field and wherever else determined by the Town Engineer. All tests will only be performed during the period of April 1 to June 15, provided that all frost is out of the ground. Soil with a percolation rate of over 15 minutes per inch shall not be suitable for septic tanks and leach fields. Soil with a percolation rate of over one minute per inch shall be unsuitable for subsurface leaching fields and street drains. A groundwater observation hole a minimum of seven feet in depth must be measured from the elevation of the property after finished grading. All tests must be made in the presence of the Town Engineer or his agent. Where the test is to be made in filled ground for sanitary sewerage disposal purposes, the fill must be in place at least six months prior to the date on which the test is made. Tests made under this section may be utilized by the Board of Health, provided that any additional requirements of that Board have been complied with.
[2] 
Plans shall be presented in two sets of original or reproducible drawings and five sets of copies. All other documents shall be presented in three copies. One set of original plans and one copy of other documents will be returned to the applicant as endorsed.
D. 
Preparation of definitive plan. The definitive plan shall be prepared by an engineer and/or surveyor and shall be clearly and legibly drawn in black India ink upon Mylar. The plan shall be at a scale of one inch equals 40 feet or such other scale as the Board may accept to show true bearings, curve data and accurate dimensions. Sheet sizes shall not exceed twenty-four by thirty-six (24 x 36) inches. The definitive plan shall contain the following information:
(1) 
The subdivision name, boundaries, North point, date and scale.
(2) 
The name and address of the record owner, subdivider and engineer or surveyor who shall indicate by stamp registration in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
(3) 
The names of all abutters as they appear on the most recent tax list.
(4) 
The existing and proposed lines of streets, ways, lots, easements and public or common areas within the subdivision. (The proposed names of proposed streets shall be shown in pencil until they have been approved by the Board.) Contents of titles, covenants and easements shall be reproduced in full either on the plan or appended thereto.
(5) 
Sufficient data to determine the location, direction and length of every street and way line, lot line and boundary line and to establish these lines on the ground.
(6) 
The locations of all permanent monuments properly identified as to whether existing or proposed.
(7) 
The locations, names and present widths of streets bounding, approaching or within reasonable proximity of the subdivision.
(8) 
Suitable space to record the action of the Board and the signatures of the members of the Board (or officially authorized person). The block shall be three and five-tenths by seven (3.5 x 7) inches, minimum.
(9) 
Existing and proposed topography at two-foot contour intervals as required by the Board.
(10) 
Profiles on the center lines of proposed streets at a horizontal scale of one inch equals 40 feet and vertical scale of one inch equals four feet, or such other scales acceptable to the Board. All elevations shall refer to the Town datum. A minimum of one bench mark shall be provided based upon Town (United States Geological Survey, National Geodetic Vertical Datum) datum.
(11) 
The proposed layout of storm drainage, public water supply and public sewage disposal systems. If wells and/or septic tanks and leach fields are intended to be utilized, these shall be shown by general indication of location with spot elevations on the finished grading sheet. The Board of Health reserves the right to make final determination concerning location and specifications of private water and sewage systems.
E. 
Review by Board of Health as to suitability of the land.
(1) 
The Planning Board shall, within 10 days after submission of a plan, consult with the Board of Health. If the Board of Health is in doubt as to whether any of the land in the subdivision can be used as building sites without injury to the public health, it shall so notify the Planning Board, in writing, within 30 days. Any approval of the plan by the Planning Board shall then only be given on the condition that the lots or land as to which such doubt exists shall not be built upon without prior consent of the Board of Health, and shall endorse on the plan such condition, specifying the lots or land to which said condition applies.
(2) 
The data obtained in § 159-7C(7) shall be submitted by the Planning Board to the Board of Health for its review.
(3) 
Any lot so located that it cannot be served by a connection to the municipal sewer system shall be provided with a septic tank and drain field satisfactory to the Board of Health.
F. 
Public hearings. Before approval of a definitive plan is given, a public hearing shall be held by the Planning Board. Notice of such hearing shall be given by the Board at least 14 days prior thereto by advertising in an official publication of, or in a newspaper of general circulation in, the Town of Agawam. A copy of said notice shall be mailed to the applicant and to all owners of land abutting the subdivision and within 500 feet of it, as appearing in the most recent tax list. A petition for a change of zone when necessary shall be entered and heard concurrently with the subdivision approval hearing if the Council has referred a zone change request back to the Board. The Planning Board may notify the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) and abutting communities if the proposal would have regional significance.
G. 
Action of the Board; approval or disapproval.
(1) 
Board action.
(a) 
The Planning Board shall confer with any boards or commissions which have an interest in the proposal. The action of the Board in respect to such plan shall be by vote. The certificate of such action shall be filed with the Town Clerk and sent by registered mail to the applicant.
(b) 
After the public hearing as required above, the Board shall approve or, if the plan does not comply with the Subdivision Control Law or the rules and regulations of the Planning Board or the recommendation of the Board of Health or its agent, shall approve with modification or disapprove such plan. In the event of disapproval, the Planning Board shall state in detail wherein the plan does not conform to the rules and regulations of the Board or to the recommendation of the Board of Health or its agent, and the Board shall revoke its disapproval and approve the plan which, amended, conforms to such rules and regulations or recommendations. Final approval, if granted, shall be on the condition that the plan meets approval under the Wetlands Act, MGL c. 131, § 40.
(c) 
Final approval, if granted, shall be endorsed on the original drawing of the definitive plan by the signatures of a majority of the Board, but not until the statutory twenty-day appeal period has elapsed following the filing of the certificate of the action of the Board with the Town Clerk, and said Clerk has notified the Board that no appeal has been filed. After the definitive plan has been approved and endorsed, the applicant shall furnish the Board with three extra endorsed lot layout sheets and the book and page of the Registry of Deeds (and/or Land Court) where such plan is recorded.
(2) 
Rescission of approval.
(a) 
A covenant filed with the Registry of Deeds and described in Subsection H below shall contain the following statement: "The construction of all ways and the installation of all municipal services shall be completed in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations of the Board within ________ months from date of endorsement. Failure to so comply shall automatically rescind approval of this plan."
(b) 
Time shall be determined from the time-development sequence.
(c) 
Any bond allowed under Subsection H below shall be drawn to accomplish the intent and purpose of this section. Promptly, the applicant shall furnish the Planning Board with the book and page of the Registry of Deeds (and/or Land Court) wherein the covenant is recorded.
H. 
Performance guaranty. Before endorsement of approval on the definitive plan, the Board shall require the guaranty of installation of all work required by this regulation which shall be performed by the applicant or his agent by a covenant running with the land which shall be filed with the Registry of Deeds, or by posting of bond or depositing moneys with the Town Treasurer.
(1) 
Covenant. [See Subsection G(2) above.]
(a) 
Such covenant shall state that no lot in the subdivision shall be conveyed other than by mortgage deed and no building shall be erected thereon until the improvements specified in the regulations are constructed and installed so as to serve the lots adequately. Such condition shall be endorsed upon the plan or contained in a separate vote or agreement which shall be referred to on the plan and recorded in the Registry of Deeds. When the applicant has completed the required improvements specified in the regulations, including the documents for street acceptance (Subsection J), for any lots in a subdivision, he may request a release of the covenant for said lots. If the improvements have been completed to the satisfaction of the Board, the Board will then execute and deliver to the applicant such release, which shall be in the form for recording in the Registry of Deeds. The Planning Board may require a deposit of security (cash only) and agreement to guarantee the performance of the work until the lots are improved. Thereafter the conditions relating to such lots so released shall terminate.
(b) 
The applicant shall furnish the Board with one copy of the recorded covenant.
(2) 
Bond.
(a) 
The applicant may elect to post a performance bond for part or all of the work to be accomplished according to the plan showing sequence of development. The performance bond and/or deposit money shall be an amount determined by the Board to be sufficient to cover the cost of all improvements specified in these regulations for the division of work and as described in a related bond agreement. All surety bonds shall be submitted to the Counsel from the Planning Board for approval as to form prior to submission to the Town Treasurer for approval as to sufficiency and custody. Bonds shall be written for the time required as specified in the time-sequence of development statement and related bond agreement.
(b) 
Pump station; utility services; binding of corporations.
[1] 
If a pump station is included in the definitive plan, this work shall be secured separately and completed as to operational capacity, standby power and warning system before a covenant relating to any lots shall be released.
[2] 
The utility services, gravel base and base coat of blacktop shall be accomplished under covenant, cash security or a security bond (such bond in an amount twice the amount of cash security needed). The remainder of the work shall be secured by cash security or by a security bond (such bond in an amount twice the amount of cash security needed). The amount of security specified shall include reasonable attorney's fees and related engineering costs.
[3] 
Corporate owners shall produce proper authority for the signer of the performance agreement to bind the corporation, and the corporation major stockholder shall bind himself personally to the terms of the performance agreement.
(3) 
Extension of time. If the time schedule is altered, notice must be given to the Planning Board which, at its discretion, may extend the time of completion, provided that any securities then held by the Town must be reviewed and increased as necessary to cover any increased cost of improvements. As part of the increased costs, the cost increment due to inflation of construction costs shall be added to the bond or cash security posted by the applicant. The Engineering News Record Construction Cost or similar index most accurately reflecting Agawam’s liability, as determined by the City Engineer, will be used to arrive at the increased construction cost.
[Amended 12-5-1996]
(4) 
Upon request, partial release of securities shall be made upon acceptance by the Board of the work completed.
(5) 
Building lot bond. A performance bond will be required of contractors or other parties constructing residences upon vacant lots where curbs, sidewalks, treebelts and other municipal facilities have been placed at the lot frontage. The requirements for this bond shall conform to the applicable provisions of Subsection H(2) of these regulations. The bond amount shall be based upon the potential damage of Town facilities plus administrative costs. It shall be the responsibility of the developer to ensure that all permitted but uncompleted residences existing in the subdivision at the time of subdivision bond release have proper building lot bonds.
(6) 
Inspection fee.
[Added 3-21-1991]
(a) 
There shall be a fee instituted to pay for the costs of inspection. The fee shall be based upon the linear footage of roadway, water lines, sewer lines and drainage lines. The footage shall be as measured on the approved definitive plans. Any substantial increase in constructed footages over the plan footage shall result in a prorated increase in fee. Roadways shall be measured along the center line, from its beginning intersection with an existing street layout line or other beginning point to the final intersection with another street or existing layout line, so as to encompass all proposed rights-of-way. Culs-de-sac shall be measured on the basis of a center line extending straight through the center of the cul-de-sac to the far edge of the layout. Water line connections and building sewers in the right-of-way will not be included in the measurement for fee determination, except where their length exceeds 40 feet.
(b) 
The unit rate of inspection fee levied shall be $0.75 per linear foot measured on each of the four categories cited above. The total inspection fee shall be equal to the unit rate times the total footage of each line category of inspection (roadway, water, sewer and drain lines) as measured by the City Engineer. The fees described above must be paid prior to the commencement of construction, but these fees need only be paid beforehand for the particular phase of work to be undertaken, e.g., roadway, sewer, water or drain. When warranted by inflation or other factors, the unit inspection fee will be increased as proposed by the Agawam Department of Public Works and approved by the Planning Board.
I. 
Notification of completion. Upon completion of the subdivision, the applicant shall notify the Planning Board that the subdivision is ready for final inspection with respect to the removal of the bond.
J. 
Documents for acceptance of street by Council.
(1) 
Upon completion of the subdivision, the applicant shall provide the Town with an as-built plan suitable for presenting to the Town Council for acceptance of the street. Remaining securities held by the Town will not be released until an as-built plan has been certified by the Board as completed for submission to the Council.
(2) 
The applicant shall provide the Town with a standard hold-harmless agreement regarding any claims created by virtue of any actions taken by the developer and a statement from the applicant that he gives up the right to any claims he may hold within the development.