WESTERLY — Responding to concerns raised by neighbors and town officials, the developers of a proposed Ledward Avenue subdivision have reduced the size of the project.
The lawyer for J&C Luzzi Home LLC told the Planning Board during a master plan review public hearing Tuesday that his client had decided to eliminate one lot — bringing the overall size of the development to 10 lots. By not building on the Joshua Street lot, the land could be used to access a 5-acre conservation area the developers are planning, said William Nardone, the lawyer.
"... what we are suggesting is to eliminate what is shown as Lot 10 at the end of Joshua Street and incorporate that into the conservation area, which would greatly alleviate concerns of residents and result in area that could be created for access to the conservation area," Nardone said.
Nardone also had he has spoken with the Westerly Municipal Land Trust about the possibility of conveying the conservation area to the land trust.
Residents of Joshua Street raised concerns during a pre-application meeting in January about whether the narrow street could support a residence at the spot previously envisioned by the company. Municipal planning staff had also raised concerns about the Joshua Street building site.
Plans now call for one lot that would be accessed off of Ledward Avenue and nine lots that would be accessed from a cul-de-sac planned for Gardner Drive. The company proposed having the cul-de-sac be a private road but is considering town officials' request for the road to be built to town road standards and to be turned over to the town as a public road once construction is complete.
"I talked to my clients today and they are amenable to discussing that further and exploring the opportunity or possibility of making that a town road. That would entail some redesign, which they are aware of," Nardone said.
Board member Christopher Lawlor, noting the proposed development site was previously a quarry, suggested conducting a slope risk assessment; obtaining a report from a biologist regarding the effect of the project on wetlands, natural habitats and wildlife; and inspection of ledge on the property.
"My main concern is that it's an old quarry. I think we need to know what's under it … and the effect of development," Lawlor said.
Schane Tallardy, a Joshua Street resident, said many of the concerns he raised previously were addressed but that potential disruption to wildlife remained a concern.
A Gardner Drive resident, John Sposato, said he was concerned about the proximity of new houses to his property. He also predicted blasting would be necessary to prepare the land for the new houses due to the presence of ledge in the area.
In keeping with the town's inclusionary zoning ordinance, two of the units must be sold at low- and moderate-income prices.
The public hearing will resume during the board's meeting in March.