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Campisi requests changes to proposed Oakville subdivision

Preliminary approval of legislation for a new subdivision in Oakville was delayed last week by County Councilman John Campisi, R-south county, after residents requested changes to the proposal.

The county Planning Commission recently recommended approval of McBride & Sons Homes' request to rezone 95 acres on the northeast corner of Becker and Fine roads to Residential and Flood-Plain Residential from Non-Urban and Flood-Plain Non-Urban to develop a 242-home subdivision.

Under the original proposal, 204 of those homes would sit on 50-foot-wide lots, 26 homes would sit on 60-foot-wide lots and 12 would sit on 80-foot-wide lots. At least 43 acres of the subdivision would be used for common ground.

The panel recommended approval of the rezoning request, but also acknowledged potential traffic and lot-size problems, a Nov. 18 report stated. "The revised site design with a reduction in the total number of units and an increase of larger lots is consistent and compatible with surrounding land use and zoning," according to the report.

However, residents who live in subdivisions surrounding the proposed subdivision, the majority of whom claim to live on 70- to 85-foot lots, voiced their opposition to the rezoning request at the Jan. 20 County Council meeting. They asserted that the smaller lot sizes are not compatible with the surrounding subdivisions, would decrease property values and would increase traffic on Becker Road.

The rezoning request must receive County Council approval before McBride & Sons can develop the property.

After hearing from at least 15 people who were opposed to the rezoning request, Campisi announced he would hold the bill's preliminary approval until residents' concerns are addressed.

Jim Kalke of River Walk Place spoke in opposition of the proposal last week, saying he represented at least 140 other residents from surrounding subdivisions.

"We are not opposed to having 95 acres developed into a subdivision. A subdivision on this site is welcome. We are concerned about the size of the lots that are proposed," he said, noting the majority of the homes in McBride & Sons' proposal would sit on 50- and 60-foot lots.

Subdivisions near the proposed development at Becker and Fine Roads have 70-, 80- and 85-foot-wide lots, he said, referring to a 1999 Planning Commission report that stated 50- and 60-foot wide lots were not consistent with the surrounding subdivisions and "should not be allowed."

"In 1989 (1999), the Planning Department and Planning Commission rejected a subdivision proposal with 50- and 60-foot wide lots and recommended 70- and 80-foot wide lots so that the subdivisions would be consistent with the surrounding subdivisions," he said. "This year they changed their minds. They now say it's OK to build a subdivision with smaller lots surrounding the area ... Many people attended the public hearing held by the Planning Commission and let their concerns be known about the 50- and 60-foot wide lots. You, Councilman Campisi have received 140 letters and e-mails, also voicing their concern. What do the local people have to do to be heard?" he said.

Through a show of hands, 25 people indicated they opposed the proposal during a Sept. 15 public hearing and 20 people indicated they were in favor of the proposal. The Department of Planning also received 135 letters opposing the request, while no letters were sent supporting the request.

During a recent meeting of subdivision residents who live near Becker and Fine roads, Kalke said residents came to a consensus that all lots should be a minimum of 70 feet wide.

"We are asking that you do the right thing and do what you said when you ran for the council position," he told Campisi. "You said you would listen to the people and see that developers did what was right. Well, we are the people and we want you to do the right thing. We do not want 50- and 60-foot-wide lots in the proposed subdivision. It wasn't recommended in '89 ('99) and it shouldn't be recommended now."

He concluded by asking people in the audience who supported him to stand — about 36 stood.

At least 15 other residents spoke at the Jan. 20 council meeting, echoing Kalke's concerns about lot sizes.

Mary Hotz of Becker Road, asked councilmen to consider the increased traffic Becker Road would experience if a large subdivision with many 50- to 60-foot-wide lots was developed without any improvements to the road.

"I would like to add it's going to put a lot of traffic onto a very bad road right there on Becker Road," Hotz said, adding that the end of the road is "very narrow and curvy" and dangerous for current residents. She said there is a 90-degree curve on the road near the proposed subdivision.

Campisi responded, saying he recently had driven on Becker Road, was aware of her concerns, and agreed that section of Becker Road was a traffic hazard.

McBride & Sons agreed, Campisi told the Call, to make improvements on that section of Becker Road, changing it from a sharp 90-degree curve to a gradual right-hand turn.

Site distance also will be improved, which is greatly needed, because the road sits on a large hill, he added.

Campisi, who previously had met with many of the residents at one of his town-hall meetings, introduced a substitution to his original legislation Jan. 20 that, if approved, would permit McBride and Sons to develop the property on Becker and Fine roads. The substitution included adjustments, Campisi told the Call, based on concerns expressed by the residents and his negotiations with McBride and Sons before the Jan. 20 council meeting.

Revisions to the legislation, according to Campisi, include:

The removal of stub streets, dead-end streets that are prepared for future development, near the South Oak subdivision and near houses closer to Becker Road.

The relocation of one of the subdivision's entrances from Becker Road to Fine Road, which would alleviate traffic on Becker Road.

The construction of sidewalks throughout the entire property, including lots that do not have homes.

The removal of the 90-degree turn on Becker Road that is close to the proposed subdivision.

The requirement that each home, at the minimum, will have a two-car garage.

He noted he planned to meet with McBride and Sons to discuss other issues with the legislation, such as lot sizes, stop signs on Fine Road, the other entrances into the subdivision and other concerns residents had raised.

Campisi did meet with McBride & Sons after the council meeting to make more revisions to the proposal and said McBride had agreed to remove all of the 50-foot lots.

Under the revised proposal, the 95-acre property would include 148 60-foot-wide lots and 50 80-foot-wide lots. A second entrance on Becker Road was eliminated — leaving the subdivision with two instead of three entrances, with one on Fine Road and one on Becker Road, he said.

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