Zoning request denied for Ridge Road topsoil operation
By Terry Duffy
Lewiston Town Board members moved on a few items Monday with Town Supervisor Dennis Brochey absent due to illness.
Two that did see action taken involved a negative declaration granted for the proposed Wolfgang Subdivision on the 4200 block of Lower River Road, south of River Walk and another for the H2Gro LLC-Lewiston Greenhouse project on Pletcher Road.
Kristin L. Savard, owner and president of Advanced Design Group, representing the Wolfgang project, said the plan calls for a total of 27 homes spread out over 14 acres to be done in three phases.
"They would be upscale single-family homes, in the $350,000 range, similar to those in the River Walk subdivision," she said.
Savard said drainage issues in the area, similar to those still affecting the nearby River Walk subdivision, were factored in, with design work intended to tie in the Wolfgang parcel to the town's remedial drainage improvements planned for River Walk. That project, still in the works with the town and State Parks, would involve the town utilizing easements in nearby Joseph Davis State Park to connect with outflow conduits that would go under Lower River Road to alleviate drainage.
"We've incorporated plans to drain off residents' backyards into the town's plans for Lower River Road," Savard said.
Town Councilman Bill Conrad, who introduced the motions for a negative declaration and preliminary plat approval, said the Wolfgang plan would see eight lots developed under phase one within three years, with phases two and three to follow. The negative declaration addressing environmental issues was approved that night with remaining considerations for the preliminary plat approval referred back to the town Planning Board.
Savard said once all considerations are addressed with respect to drainage, etc., the Wolfgang subdivision proposal would return to the Town Board for the scheduling of a public hearing.
Another issue that night was fire protection services in River Walk. Councilman Ron Winkley, responding to concerns from the Lewiston Fire Board over access to that subdivision, requested the town begin removal of the dead-end barricades on River Walk Drive and make the road accessible for emergency vehicles from Lower River Road to Pletcher Road. "Fire companies have expressed concern on this for the past 10 years," Winkley said, adding the improved access would also benefit the planned Wolfgang subdivision.
"It's not yet a dedicated road," Highway Superintendent Doug Janese said to board requests for town highway crews to begin removal of the dead-end barricades.
Winkley said the River Walk development owner is responsible and "would need to comply" in bringing the roadway up to at least minimal standards to handle emergency vehicles. Town Board members agreed, noting at present the cinder road was merely a walking path between the south and north end River Walk neighborhoods.
The matter was left with approval for Janese to open the stretch for complete River Walk Drive access to emergency vehicles, and directives for the subdivision owner to bring the roadway up to minimal use at his own expense.
In other action, the board without comment moved on a site plan approval for the H2Gro LLC-Lewiston Greenhouse LLC proposal for a medical marijuana growing facility eyed for the complex. "We found no significant impacts on this," said Conrad of the earlier Planning Board support for the project, whose application as a regional growing facility of medical marijuana is before the state Health Department
However, the same response wasn't to be found for another request, that of an application for rezoning by 1815 Ridge Road LLC, described by Conrad as a topsoil business that has been run illegally for a number of years.
"It's currently zoned rural residential as are neighboring properties. It's spot zoning," said Conrad, a former Zoning Board member as he urged the board to deny the request.
Town Attorney Mark Davis said the matter should go to the Planning Board, noting it had been before the town Zoning Board earlier as a variance use request and that the site operated as a farm about five to six years ago. "The topsoil business was started without prior approvals," said Davis, adding that proper procedures were never followed.
•The board tabled action on a water department appointment and clay mining truck issues to its next regular meeting due to Brochey's absence.
•It also tabled discussion on cell tower co-location fees to the next session as Conrad said that he'd been unable to discuss the matter with the town's Cell Tower Committee.
With Deputy Supervisor Mark Briglio filling in for Brochey, the board soon after adjourned to executive session to discuss highway personnel issues with Janese and other personnel matters with town attorneys.