LEWISTON – Residents packed the Lewiston Town Board meeting on Monday, most appearing to oppose Jerald I. Wolfgang’s plan for a 27-home subdivision on a 14.4-acre parcel of land off Lower River Road. The new subdivision called “French Landing” would be built on property adjacent to his own home on Lower River Road.
The loudest cries came from residents in the Riverwalk subdivision, which is southwest of the planned development. For years these residents have been plagued by flooding problems because of poor planning in the flood zone area.
“These people have an issue with someone else. They can’t hold us hostage,” said Wolfgang’s attorney Damon DeCastro. The mood of the debate was not helped when DeCastro both berated and belittled the speakers Monday night including calling one man “that knucklehead attorney” after his list of concerns were brought to the board on behalf of residents.
The town board unanimously agreed to the subdivision with one major caveat. The board demanded that the main road in the project – “Wolf Run” - be fully completed to run from Riverwalk Road to Lower River Road, before any certificates of occupancy are granted.
Originally the subdivision was to be built in two phases with eight homes in the first phase and 19 in the second phase. If the developer did not complete Phase II they had suggested a turnaround, rather than completing the road – which was rejected by the board and the Lewiston Fire Safety Board.
The homes will be built on 75-by-150-foot lots.
Residents at Monday’s meeting wanted assurances that the flooding would not continue and were assured that the plan is properly designed and it meets the codes. Included is a drainage plan, which development engineer Kristin L. Savard from Advance Design Engineers has said is expected to improve overall drainage in the area.
Another concern was that public funds were being used to make improvements at Riverwalk and this new subdivision, which was dismissed as untrue.
Councilman William Conrad said the project exceeds minimum design standards and said they can’t ask a developer to go beyond these standards. But he said they will be held to design standards telling residents – they don’t want to repeat what happened at Riverwalk.
He also told residents Monday that they couldn’t stop developers from coming into Lewiston.