New subdivision starts review process in Bayfield

Neighbors cite concerns about traffic, lack of sidewalks in current neighborhood

Traffic before and after school stacks up on Clover Drive. Enlargephoto

Photo by Carole McWilliams

Traffic before and after school stacks up on Clover Drive.

Several Clover Meadows residents raised concerns to Bayfield planning commissioners Tuesday evening about proposed fill-out development of the subdivision.

Traffic and safety of kids walking to the elementary school were the big items. The Schroder Ditch runs along the east edge of the project, and ditch representatives had their own concerns.

Planning commissioners recommended approval of the sketch plan with a long list of conditions. It will go to the town board on March 21.

Cory Gosney and partners propose a total 63 lots on 24.34 acres. The lots are a mix of high density residential south of the existing Clover Meadows homes on Daylily and Lupine Drives; a row of R-10 single family lots east of the existing development, and seven multi-family lots on the north side of the existing homes.

The seven multi-family lots could accommodate up to 82 units based on one unit per 2,000 square feet of lot, Town Manager Chris La May said.

"This is a conceptual plan, the first step in the subdivision process," he told planning commissioners and audience members. "It doesn't include engineering details that are required for the preliminary and final plats.

"The intent of the sketch plan is to see if this is something you are favorable to," he told planning commissioners. The land proposed for high density residential would have to be changed from R-10 zoning, he said. The town would like an extension of Mustang Drive as a corridor street through the subdivision, he advised. It's not shown on the sketch plan reviewed Tuesday.

Clover Meadows resident Wendy Crane objected that there's no crosswalk or crossing guard, and no sidewalk for kids walking to school.

"Most of us on Daylily or Lupine drive our kids to school because of concerns for their safety," she said. "A huge concern is extra traffic through our neighborhood (if Mustang is extended). We have a lot of little kids, families."

Resident Lisa Carnahan commented, "We've been there 17 years and have never been able to let our kids walk. More homes is a real concern. Clover (Drive) was never designed to be a major thoroughfare. The traffic issues really need to be mitigated."

Crane was concerned with road width. "We already have issues with the fire department and parking on the street," she said. La May said the town standard is 36 feet.

Another resident asked about the size of houses on the small lots. She worried that small houses could reduce values of the larger existing homes.

Planning Commission Chair Joe Mozgai said that hasn't happened in the Dove Ranch subdivision where he lives. The smaller homes on small lots at the bottom of Dove Ranch "made no difference," he said. "They're selling like hotcakes. They've all gone up" in market value.

Carnahan asked if there will be any minimum square footage for the homes. "Will those houses be considered 'affordable' or 'low income?'"

Mayor Matt Salka responded, "This is just the beginning. We don't know." He suggested that interested residents should come to all the meetings where the project is on the agenda.

Carnahan said, "It's important that you understand what the neighborhood is like now. There's no sidewalks on Meadow Circle. That's where kids walk to get to the front (west side) of the (elementary) school."

Project representative Eric Nelson said, "This is a fantastic traffic layout with four exits, various ways to get to the school. The whole subdivision will have sidewalks," and the sidewalk on Clover Drive will be extended to the south.

"Probably the most important thing is the town is out of lots (for new homes)," Nelson said. "The town could use this desperately. This was planned to be here. It's not a surprise."

The entire area, the current Clover Meadows homes and the business-light industrial area to the north, was originally platted in the early 1980s as an industrial park. There was no buyer interest, so the developers, Chris Zoll and his mother Virginia Zoll, re-platted it for residential development on the south half. Separately, an area along Orchard Drive was approved for multi-family as a transition between the commercial and residential areas.

Project partner Cory Gosney responded to the property value concerns.

"The price of construction is astronomical now," he said. "These won't be cheap lots."

There were also concerns about the ditch, drainage, and groundwater.

Schroder Ditch representative Paul Black noted the ditch is just uphill from the development. "It's a big ditch directly above all those lots. I don't know if they're planning any groundwater studies" to compare conditions during irrigation season and the rest of the year. He referred to water in people's basements and liability concerns if kids get into the ditch.

Ditch representative Phyllis Ludwig said, "We are asking for it to be piped. ... We've had so many calls about houses being flooded." If the ditch isn't piped, they will want documentation that if there is flooding, "someone other than the ditch is responsible."

Crane cited "a marsh in the field during irrigation season. It's not my problem (as president of their HOA), but who do they call first" when there's water in someone's basement.

Gerald Ludwig, another ditch representative, noted that several lots on the east edge of the development span the ditch. That's been a problem in other places. People put up fences that interfere with access for ditch maintenance. "It's a big mess," he said.

On having the developer pipe the ditch, La May said, "We think it would be appropriate to get the parties together to resolve that issue. It will probably need more negotiation."

Two youths walk through a field Wednesday that could be developed into the final stage of Mesa Meadows in Bayfield. Enlargephoto

Photo by Carole McWilliams

Two youths walk through a field Wednesday that could be developed into the final stage of Mesa Meadows in Bayfield.

A lack of sidewalks in the current Mesa Meadows subdivision means many families drive their children to Bayfield Elementary School, even though it's only a few blocks away. Enlargephoto

Photo by Carole McWilliams

A lack of sidewalks in the current Mesa Meadows subdivision means many families drive their children to Bayfield Elementary School, even though it's only a few blocks away.