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.
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.
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.