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Neighbors Voice Opposition to Proposed Laurel Crest Drive Subdivision

Monday night, neighbors complained of a proposal by developer Robert Nauta to turn 15 Laurel Crest Drive into a five-lot subdivision.

Monday night at a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting in Waterford Town Hall, residents of Laurel Crest Drive complained about a proposal by Robert Nauta to build a five-lot subdivision at 15 Laurel Crest Drive.

Ironically, few of the neighbors had problems with the proposal by Nauta. Instead, they were worried about what the five-lot subdivision could become, with the biggest fear that Nauta will eventually build a road connecting Minor Lane and Laurel Crest Drive.

“We don’t want a road at 15 Laurel Crest Drive,” said Dominic Fraioli, who said he has lived on Laurel Crest Drive for 40 years. “We urge for rejection of this plan today.”

The property, 15 Laurel Crest Drive, is 30 acres and runs from Miner Lane to Laurel Crest Drive. Nauta proposes to put four smaller lots at the cul-de-sac at the end of Miner Lane, a development the neighbors had no issue with.

What they worried about was the proposed 16-acre fifth lot, which Nauta is proposing to turn into one single building lot and, as of Monday night, a tree farm. The neighbors fear he will try to come back later and get approval for a road to connect Laurel Crest Drive to Miner Lane, which they believe will greatly increase traffic on Laurel Crest Drive. That fifth lot is also the only lot that will have frontage on Laurel Crest Drive.

Neighbors said they moved to Laurel Crest Drive because it is a quiet, dead-end street with little traffic. If a road is built connecting Laurel Crest Drive, it will change the dynamic of the neighborhood, they argued.

The Subdivision

In 2011, Nauta proposed building a 22-lot subdivision at 15 Laurel Crest Drive. Neighbors vehemently opposed the proposal, as did the Conservation Commission, and Nauta later withdrew the proposal as it faced certain rejection.

He came back with a plan in 2012 for the five-lot subdivision. The Conservation Commission was much friendly to the scaled-back plan and has approved the proposal.

Now, it faces the Planning and Zoning Commission, which held a public hearing on the proposal Monday night. There, several residents of Laurel Crest Drive spoke against the proposal, worried that Nauta would later ask to turn the 16-acre fifth-lot into a subdivision and extend Laurel Crest Drive to Miner Lane.

“If it is a building lot, it’s a building lot,” said Anthony Jessuck, who lives on Laurel Crest Drive and serves on the Waterford Board of Finance. “You don’t need a road off of 15 Laurel Crest. I strongly oppose it as well.”

However, Town Planner Mark Wujtewicz said that is an unlikely scenario. Wujtewicz said he could ask for a variance to try to extend Laurel Crest Drive, which would be hard to get and could be blocked by the neighbors, who collectively own a piece of property at the end of the street. The other option is Nauta could resubdivide the fifth lot, and build two houses there instead of one.

Tree Farm?

Monday night, Nauta's agent William Kent said Nauta was planning to turn the 16-acre fifth lot into a tree farm. Wujtewicz said it was the first he heard of that proposal and Kent did not expand on it. Wujtewicz said Nauta does have the acreage necessary to put a tree farm there, but would have to come back to the Planning and Zoning Commission for approval to have a retail tree farm.

Paul January 08, 2013 at 10:49 PM
Although, I can understand the concerns of the residents on Laurel Crest about future traffic I think there should be concerns about the Great Neck area being cut off when they are severe storms. The town currently parks a front end loader and a dump truck at that end of town when storms hit the area due to the possibility of debris and flood waters cutting off the Great Neck area. Mr. Nauta's plan does not call for that cut through in his plan but there should be a debate about finding a way to connect Minor Lane to help our public safety officials and our citizens have a way out of that area if the flooding gets that bad. I don't see the traffic being any worse than the traffic cutting down Shore Rd and Gardners Wood Rd. Since I am not a professional traffic person maybe the traffic division of the Waterford Police dept. can get some information on this or if the developer is planning on a cut through that he provides the commission with a traffic study.
John Sheehan January 09, 2013 at 02:02 AM
Due to the wetlands and the high water table, any road joining Miner Lane and Laurel Crest would be flooded in a light rain, much less a 9 inch storm similar to the one in March 2010. I don't see any advantage in connecting Miner Lane and Laurel Crest Drive unless Miner Lane was connected to Pepperbox. If you think the opposition to the 15 Laurel Crest development is strong, just make a proposal to connect Miner Lane and Pepperbox. The hue and cry against such a proposal would be even louder.
Harrison January 09, 2013 at 05:39 AM
Of course the cry would be louder.... You would be conncecting a rich part of waterford to a poor part of waterford dangerously close to the town line with big bad new london...
ZIGGY January 09, 2013 at 06:40 AM
5 lots?....well in taxes that's 1/2 a teacher or a 1/2 year salary of a retired cop to guard the front door of 1 school
Paul January 09, 2013 at 11:36 AM
Mr. Sheehan your point is well taken. However, regardless where and how the connected road takes place it would help increase public safety during severe storms. As I stated before I understand the neighbors concern for the possible increase in traffic. The same people who may hue and cry about the connection will also hue and cry if their power is out longer than a week during a severe storm. If they really do not want an eventual connection than that is within their right but I sure hope they don't complain if the Great Neck area gets cut off during a severe storm. The front end loader and dump truck gets parked their for that reason and the public safety officials have stated their ability to respond can get difficult with to many dead end streets and not enough connected streets in town. I would hope that the people who live in the Great Neck area take this into consideration when looking at any possible road connection because I can appreciate their concern about the possible increase in traffic but I also hope they think about their public safety during severe storms.

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