A building company is hoping to put a new development on Route 38, but will to have to wait a few weeks longer.
Developer Ryan Homes has been navigating the city’s commissions, boards and council this year to build new empty nester and single family homes on Route 38 and Boerger Road.
At the last council meeting, members asked the developer to connect two roads within the development in order to provide better access for emergency vehicles, bring a multiuse trail in the southeast corner farther from the road and bring back a completed traffic study.
Gary Smith, speaking for Ryan Homes, said Monday night the connection of the two roads was “not a decision taken lightly.” He said in his opinion, the connection wasn’t needed, but they understood the connection was important to council. He said the cost of the extra roadway added about $200,000 to the overall cost of the development.
He did note the change had an unintended yet positive effect because the company was able to add another unit to the plan. The older plan had some pie-shaped lots often found on corners and culs-de-sacs, and the new road allowed for a bit more efficiency in their design.
Since the beginning of the plan earlier this year, the developer has bumped the number of lots down from 210 to 180.
“This wasn’t something that we snuck in somewhere,” he said. “In reality, it still doesn’t pay for the cost of the road.”
Council also asked for the company to give more consideration to the properties to the immediate west. The new design also pushes much of the plan slightly to the east, giving a greater buffer between it and those neighboring properties. Smith said due to the terrain in the area, the plan likely couldn’t be pushed any further.
Many of the surrounding areas are zoned R-2, and Smith said the development’s density is less than what an R-2 would allow.
“I think we’re providing a very good transition,” he said.
Smith said the residents who move into the units bordering those outside properties will almost certainly be empty nesters. This, he said, will ensure the area will be quiet.
Council member Nevin Taylor commended the developer for their willingness to work with the city, but he expressed further concern for impact on traffic in the area.
City Engineer Jeremy Hoyt presented the results of the traffic study to council. He said the study found that while the development will bring in more traffic, it likely won’t bring in enough to warrant extra turn lanes or other roadway improvements.
“It’ll being in a little bit more, but not enough to push it over,” he said.
Dave Gibson spoke during public comment, and expressed worries over “red flags” he’s seen with Ryan Homes.
“Over time, these red flags keep popping up,” he said.
He said the developer had been inconsistent early in the process regarding design, and accused the developer of misleading council by not following codes that require two-story homes to have windows on each second-floor room.
Smith clarified, saying the homes Gibson was referring to are single-story.
Gibson also said there’s no rule that says empty nesters will be the ones moving into the homes along his property.
Taylor asked the developer to reach out to the other two property owners who abut the project further west. Smith said the Gibson property is the most affected, so he’s only spoken to the Gibsons. He said the developer is still committed to preserving the tree line between the project and other properties.
Taylor said if the developer can come back and assure council those other two properties will have a substantial buffer reflected in the plan, he’d feel better about the application.
“I’m not comfortable with the 38 traffic, but I’m never going to be comfortable with it,” he said.
The applicant will return to council Dec. 18 for the passage of amendments to the plan, then the passage of the application itself.
In other council news:
-The city held the third reading and passed the city’s 2018 budget.
-The city held the first readings of a series of ordinances that would create new zoning for the Uptown Historical District and Preservation District. Officials will return Dec. 11 for a second reading and public hearing.
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