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Residents voice concerns over density, comprehensive plan issues
√ Town OKs funding for drainage study/maintenance plan
By Terry Duffy
As part of its final audit/regular meeting session of 2021 last week, the Lewiston Town Board opened with a public hearing en route to moving on a conceptual plan for an existing planned unit development. The action included a rezoning of the land area from R-1 (single family residential) to PUD status on Northridge Drive and Ridge Road, and now allows for an additional 10 units to the Northridge Drive apartments complex.
The site is owned and managed by LMK Realty Associates LLC. A plan calls for incorporating the 10 units to the existing PUD covering 4.8 acres, according to LMK representative Nick Massaro.
“I think that most people are familiar with our plan regarding this property at this time,” he said, noting the project has been in progress with the town over the past eight to nine months.
“Essentially, we have large, irregular-shaped lots that are more practical to incorporate into the existing plan in the development. … We need to incorporate it because its planned use was not classified as a planned unit development. So, what we’re calling for is 10 units, drastically scaled down from the original concept plan of 30, then 26 (units). We believe that the site development is very well laid out. It’s been a nice compromise.”
Massaro said green space requirements are comfortably adhered to and the plan would be a nice complement to the existing property.
“I might add that there’s a significant market demand for this property. This particular property meets a pretty ready demand, especially in this area,” he said.
Ridge Road resident Nellie Gibbs voiced concerns over safety and density in the area.
“There’s limited visibility coming off of Ridge Road onto Northridge Drive,” she said. “One of the areas is that it’s going to increase traffic; and then you are being closer to Ridge Road. So, there might be the possibility of creating a hazardous traffic situation there.”
Gibbs also had issues with density as it relates to the town’s comprehensive plan, telling the board it provides for four units per acre on the property and that up to 300 units have already been built in adjacent areas.
“That’s a 650% increase, and there will be still more construction that’s going on with patio homes. I think this area is overbuilt already,” she said.
Raising the issue of conformity, she said Northridge Drive should remain R-1, consistent with the properties on Ridge Road. Gibbs said the change will disrupt the rural character of the community as outlined in the town’s comprehensive plan and that this project is not compatible with the existing fabric.
A second Ridge Road resident who offered written comments also came out in opposition. Among the issues were questions over the number of available rental units in the town and village, the project’s location off Ridge Road, and current projects underway on Center Street.
“Is there really a need for more in this proximity? Is there a financial benefit to the Town of Lewiston with this rezoning? If so what is that number?” the resident asked.
They went to further question the impacts of fire protection, sewer and road maintenance from the increased density. “The Town of Lewiston’s own rules state that a PUD is 10 acres. Why are we cramming two additional multiple units into an area less than two acres?
“Why is the town willing to do it? Is there not a need for additional single-family homes? By changing the rezoning, is the Town of Lewiston leaving itself exposed to further development at the top of Ridge Road?”
Later in the session, the board, on procedural votes, went on to approve a negative declaration and the conceptual plan/PUD for the LMK project. Town Councilman John Jacoby said Massaro interests “have done everything to address the zoning and PUD requirements in the eyes of the town. It has nothing to do with the two lots on Ridge Road (that are separate from the project).”
In other news from the session:
•The board approved an expenditure of $110,700 to develop a comprehensive drainage study and maintenance capital plan to address drainage and infrastructure needs in the town over the next 10 years. To be handled by Town Engineer Robert Lannon of GHD Consulting Services Inc., the project is expected to address the issue of primary and secondary drainage in the town, and who would be ultimately responsible for its cost.
Supervisor Steve Broderick came out in support of the plan, as did Highway Superintendent Dave Trane, who said the study corresponds perfectly with the town’s water/sewer updates.
“It should have been done 10 years ago. Porter already has one,” Trane said.
The project is expected to take up to five months to develop and does not include the Village of Lewiston. The town plans to cover its cost via its B fund account.
•The Lewiston Family Ice Rink ended its holiday run on Jan. 2, concluding what Councilman Bill Geiben termed, “a very successful season.”
On a related matter, the town approved to publicly advertise for a recreation director opening following Mike Dashineau’s departure last month.