The long awaited-decision on the second phase of the Clearview Farm Preserve subdivision project was finally made at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting held on March 9.
Commissioners approved the resubdivision application, paving the way for six homes to be built along the Cornwall Avenue Extension.
The subdivision has been controversial from the start, after the original plans to develop 21 units on property off of Cornwall Avenue near Mountain Road was derailed in 2016 when an illegal dumpsite was found. The developer then returned in 2017 with a different version of the plan — phase one — which was later approved by the PZC.
The second phase of the project has drawn its own round of criticisms, as many, including some commissioners, expressed the belief that Cornwall Avenue Extension isn’t fit for the subdivision.
“The road is bad,” said Commissioner Gil Linder, who has been outspoken about the state of Cornwall Ave. Extension since the beginning of the process. “But I don’t believe the burden of fixing that road lies with the applicant. It should be a Town concern. I reiterate my request for us to write a letter to the Town Manager and Council about the state of the road, and how it should be a priority for the town.”
The decision comes after many weeks of public hearings and testimony from Attorney Anthony Fazzone, who represented the developer, members of the public, who’ve voiced their disdain for the development since the first phase of the subdivision was put in place, and representatives from the engineering firm Milone and MacBroom, who were called upon to give their professional opinions on the subdivision and the road on which it will be located.
One of the issues that was raised consistently throughout was concern over an increase in stormwater runoff, with many members of the public having testified ithat their backyards have been compromised due to development in the area.
“We’ve heard what the engineer’s have said about the subdivision,” said commissioner Louis Todisco. “What I take into consideration is how a subdivision affects the neighbors and the surrounding properties. The engineers assured us there would be no change in stormwater runoff, and they also said the traffic impact would be minimal, and I think the road there can handle it.”
Planning and Zoning Chairman Earl Kurtz then ended the discussion by voicing his support for the subdivision.
“At the end of the day, Cornwall Ave. Extension has been a town road there forever,” he began. “Despite the fact that it might not be up to the standards of the other town roads, I cannot sit here and deny the right of the property owner to develop the land that they own there.”
The Commission approved the project by a 5-4 vote, with Commissioners Casey Downes, Tom Selmont, Robert Brucato, and Jeff Natale in opposition. None of the four chose to comment on why they voted against the proposal.
The PZC also approved requests for Cornwall Ave. Extension earth removal, filling and regrading work, as well as a zone map change from R-80 to R-20.