McGhee Hill Road development approved

The 148-acre subdivision on McGhee Hill Road was approved by the North East Planning Board on Wednesday, March 6.

McGhee Hill Road development approved

NORTH EAST — The North East Planning Board approved a major subdivision on McGhee Hill Road at a special meeting Wednesday, March 6, concluding several years of study and discussion.

The application in question, submitted by MGHR LLC, proposes subdividing 148 acres into 10 parcels, ranging from 7.5 to almost 25 acres, on each of which a single-family home, three to five bedrooms in size, will be constructed.

“This is the largest project that North East has seen in a long, long time,” said board Chairman Dale Culver.

The board’s final approval was the result of two official site visits, and countless hours of paperwork concerning issues like stormwater drainage and other runoff.

The plan calls for the clearing of 8.5 acres of forest — 103 acres of the land is wooded. MGHR ecologists conducted studies and maps of the wetlands and native species’ habitat across the property, delineating safe building envelopes.

“Every aspect of this site was thoroughly reviewed, sometimes several times over," wrote Chris Kennan in a statement. "The size of the subdivision, its prominent location and the natural resources it encompasses made for a challenging” process, he continued. "The Planning Board did a commendable job."

During the process, said Culver, the board minimized the driveway cuts through wooded areas in MGHR’s plans, as well as working with them on issues pertaining to drains, runoff and wetland protection.

Culver noted that MGHR “was willing to meet us halfway”; for example, it voluntarily instituted no-cut zones to preserve tree coverage along the road.

The public hearing in January included a study by Millerton’s Conservation Advisory Council explaining that the 8.5 acres of clear cutting required by the current plan would cause the loss of a total of 41 acres of “core forest habitat” by effectively punching holes throughout the wooded area.

The board will institute an on-site environmental monitor to observe the construction of the infrastructure of the development — roads, drains, stormwater systems, driveways, etc. — and report back to North East’s building department.

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