2011-03-10 / News

Subdivision application withdrawn due to opposition

By Geoff Campbell

When the public hearing on the Evangelista subdivision re-opened at the March 2 meeting of the Jamestown Planning Commission, attorney John Murphy announced, “We will be withdrawing the application that is the subject matter of this public hearing.”

Murphy described his client’s reaction to their neighbor’s opposition, which was voiced in person and through correspondence in previous planning meetings.

“My clients were quite surprised by the opposition of their neighbors to the four-lot subdivision,” Murphy said. He said that withdrawing the application does not reflection a “conclusion” on the part of the Evangelistas or their team, “that that opposition was well founded.”

“We maintain,” Murphy explained, “that legally we met all of the criteria of the subdivision ordinance and that it was viable plan.”

“Nevertheless,” he continued, “my clients wish to continue to live there – on East Shore Road – and they are wise people and they took the opportunity upon hearing the opposition, as wrong headed as it might have been, to reconsider their entire position.”

The Commission agreed to hear, for informational purposes only, a preview of the new application, which had not yet been filed. Murphy described the new subdivision as consisting of three lots serviced by a short, public culde sac.

He said that he would begin with preliminary discussions with the town planner and then would move on to the Technical Review Committee.

As part of the ongoing review of the Jamestown Comprehensive Community Plan, the Commission considered language in support of conservation development. The language would be added to the community plan in five sections throughout the document.

Town Planner Lisa Bryer began with a brief overview of conservation development, which she described as a “new approach to cluster subdivision, including smaller lots, preserving a signifi cant portion of the property as open space.”

She said that the process includes a pre-planning phase that considers “the different aspects of the land, the topography, the forests, the agriculture, and stone outcroppings – all of the different elements of the environment.”

Asked by the Jamestown Conservation Commission to look at the conservation development program as modeled by the state, the Planning Commission hired Tony Lachowicz to consult with the town regarding changes to the language of various town documents and ordinances in order to adopt conservation development.

He presented his first draft to Bryer in February 2010. The Planning Commission then considered language amendments to four elements of the community plan: Natural resources, cultural resources, land use and housing.

Chairman Michael Swistak asked if the new language would serve primarily as a guide to developers. Bryer said that it would and added that putting the language in the community plan is a “belt-andsuspenders approach,” and that making corresponding changes in the zoning ordinance will be more defensible if they are first in the community plan.

The Commission considered and made a number of edits, clarifications and revisions to the language and then by consensus chose to adopt the conservation development language.

Earlier in the meeting, Swistak called for non-agenda items from the public. Murphy, appearing before the Commission as president of the Jamestown Lions Club, made clear the position of the Lions regarding the Ft. Getty pavilion.

Murphy said that the original pavilion that recently collapsed following a snowstorm was built by the Lions “30 or so years ago.”

The Lions offered to participate in the reconstruction of the facilities. He added that “it is the position of the Lions” that the beach pavilion was “beloved” and well used by the community, and that “barring extraordinary circumstances,” a new pavilion should be built with the same style structure in approximately the same location.

“[It] would be a good decision [by] the town of Jamestown,” he said, “and we are prepared to try and help with that.”

John Rembijas, for whom the pavilion was named, was a prominent Lion at the time of the construction, Murphy said.

Swistak said that “although the Town Council is carrying the ball at this point,” the precedent of the highway barn having come before the Planning Commission makes it likely that the pavilion would come before the Commission as well.

Bryer said that she would look into whether or not the pavilion would be a matter for the Commission to consider.

The only committee report at the March 3 meeting was an update from Harbor Commission liaison Susan Little regarding the approval of an updated budget, and the continued hearing by the Town Council on the Harbor Management Plan and the Harbor Ordinance.

The next meeting of the Planning Commission is scheduled for Wednesday, March 16, at Town Hall.

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