Panel seeks to solve project's problems Proposed development in early stage

June 22, 1993|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Staff Writer

The more problems that can be solved in the early stages of the planning process of the 196-acre, 303-unit Manchester Farms development, the quicker the final stages will become a reality, Benjamin Perricone, the Manchester Planning and Zoning Commission chairman, said last night.

At the commission's regular meeting, the commissioners quizzed Randy Bachtel, the development's project manager, and Charles Hollman, an attorney who represents owner Herbert W. Wessel of Hampstead, on items ranging from the layout of Southwestern Avenue to whether cul-de-sacs in Manchester Farms would contain islands with plantings.

To eliminate problems early would delay the early stages of the project, Mr. Perricone said, but would "more than make up for it" by speeding up later stages.

The commission did not approve the development's concept plan last night, but said that might happen at the next commission meeting.

"The concept plan, to us, is kind of like purgatory," Mr. Hollman said.

The developer is unable to make substantive progress until the plan is approved, he said.

One major item the commission asked about was the proposed alignment of Southwestern Avenue.

The town's major road plan shows the street veering southeast and connecting with Cape Horn Road. However, the developers of Manchester Farms want to re-direct the road to the western edge of their property.

Mr. Hollman said that following the town's original plan would require an "extremely difficult stream crossing."

"Environmentally, it's just very, very unsound," said Mr. Bachtel in an interview.

And to change the town's major road plan, Mr. Hollman said, would require a lengthy process of public hearings that could delay the project, which does not yet have concept approval from the commission.

"We're concerned about getting bogged down in the beginning," Mr. Hollman said, "because [construction of the rest of Southwestern Avenue] is several years off as far as we're concerned."

Mr. Perricone suggested the developer leave enough land for the road to be built in accordance with the town's major road plan while the developer pursues a change in the plan with town and county officials.

Mr. Hollman agreed.

At press time last night, the commission was still discussing Blevin's Claim, a proposed 62 -acre development of 164 single-family units north of Route 27.

That development is likely to come before the commission for final approval next month.

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