54 Development Corp. proposal calls for 168 apartment units
√ Town pleased with NU 2022 holiday ice rink operation
By Terry Duffy
The Lewiston Town Board heard traffic and safety complaints by residents on a proposed residential development under consideration for northern Lewiston, Monday night at Town Hall.
That session featured a public hearing on a site plan/planned unit development application by David Giusiana, a partner with Giusiana Architects and Engineer, and representing 54 Development Corp., Washington Drive, Lewiston.
The PUD application by 54 Development calls for 168 apartment units in the Washington Drive area off Creek Road. The site borders Washington Square/The Woods at Blairville, a group of apartment complexes located on Oriole Lane and Foxwood Drive, managed by Giusiana interests and constructed in the 1990s.
Residents had concerns on potential traffic impacts of the new project on Washington Drive and nearby streets, including Madison Avenue and Jeffersons Way that both exit to Creek Road.
“It’s the traffic on my street that I’m concerned about,” said Madison Avenue resident Lynn Stevens. “It’s a very quiet street; I know there are several apartments in that complex (with) at least 100 cars, maybe 150. But all that traffic going up and down a quiet street is my concern.”
“My main concern: I live on a quiet street; I have five grandkids; it’s the traffic,” agreed Madison Avenue resident Terri Santoro. “I work overnights at the airbase, 12-hour shifts. Right now, the last three weeks, I’ve been unable to sleep because they’re tearing something down across the street from me. The noise, the traffic; I bought this house specifically because it was the only house. It’s nice and quiet.”
Both residents suggested the developer consider alternatives, such as making Washington a dead end or constructing some type of cul-de-sac arrangement in the area.
“If we can make that into a dead end, a roundabout that would help; it’s a nice, quiet street,” Santoro said. “Going down Creek Road, they’re driving like a manic, but if you turn that into a cul-de-sac, it could be for safety.”
In response, the developer, as well town officials, said that traffic was a problem in the area.
“The traffic has been a concern from early on,” Giusiana said. “Originally, we looked at (a) linear design for this. There was some concern (by the Planning Board). As for the traffic concern, we’re hoping to alleviate some of that.”
He said suggestions for a dead-end street or some type of cul-de-sac on Washington Drive wouldn’t work, due to a conflict with a nearby property owner. Giusiana said traffic does exist, from the Blairville Woods/Washington Square complexes, as well as the nearby Hickory Stick Golf Course. He suggested a traffic signal on Creek Road might help.
Broderick said the town continues to discuss the project.
“I know there’s been a lot of changes to the original project; I had some input on some of the things,” he said. “You (Giusiana) worked with the Planning Board to change a lot of that, add amenities, change some of the footprint. I know it’s been ongoing.”
On a question from Councilman John Jacoby on whether Madison Avenue was needed in the 54 Development plans, Giusiana responded, “Yes, to fully service the properties.” He said, otherwise, there would be only one access route in and out of the complex.
Giusiana said plans from the 1990s called for all properties in the earlier stages of the development to be located on one big parcel: “We were looking at transitioning single-family homes on Creek, duplexes on Jeffersons, and four, six, eight family on Washington. … It was a 26-unit complex 30 years ago. If it wasn’t for the wetlands we encountered, you’d have 26-unit apartments. … (With) the recent rezoning the town did, we have to do the planned unit development process.”
“I know you did everything you could to try to accommodate all the problems,” Jacoby responded.
Giusiana said the Creek Road intersection with the Hickory Stick Golf Course presents “a very serious situation with all the traffic. We’d have to see what (can be done) to slow the traffic.”
As the hearing closed, Broderick announced there would be no action taken that night on the 54 Development project. The board is expected to next consider the project at its Dec. 12 work session.
Broderick commented that 54 Development was the latest in continuing residential activity in the town. Other projects include areas off of Bronson Drive (Essex Homes); the Northridge Drive Massaro project; a project on West Park Drive in the Perry subdivision; and now, the 54 Development Corp.
“There’s also one project actually on paper, directly across from Lewiston-Porter High School, that whole area between Creek and Calkins is a subdivision that already has the homes mapped out; it just kind of died,” Broderick said.
“The answer (to more development) is – it all depends who comes in here to develop it. These houses sell; will somebody come in and build more? It’s just one of those things. And then you have one in Porter on Lower River Road. The village is pretty much out of property. So, there’s probably four to five on paper right now.”
Moving on to other news from the session:
•Councilman Bill Geiben provided on update on how the town’s ice rink alternative for the 2022 holiday season at Niagara University’s Dwyer Ice Arena has been faring.
“Just thrilled at how well the ice skating has gone,” he said. “The cooperation with Niagara University is outstanding, and the amount of participation. They enjoy the ice, the availability of the ice skates. The snack bar is right there, the ice is solid, the space is good.”
Geiben said the town has held three holiday events at the rink thus far “and all three have been a success. A great season all the way through.”
Broderick said a full schedule listing of the ice times can be found on the town’s Recreation Department website and Facebook page. He added the town was in discussion with local businesses on sponsorship opportunities “to include more free dates” for the public.
“I’m very pleased on how that worked out,” Geiben said.
•The board approved the newest addition to the Lewiston Police Department.
“We have a new hire in the police department, a part-time officer,” Jacoby said as he presented the motion.
With board approval, officer Khoi Bui was expected to begin his service with the LPD Nov. 29.