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The bulk of the Aug. 27 joint meeting of the Poncha Springs Planning and Zoning Committee and the Board of Trustees was devoted to a public hearing on the final plat for Phase 1 of the Quarry Station development. It resulted in a 6-1 vote to approve, with noted revisions, by the board.

Developers Dave Martin and Dan Russell made the presentation for the final plat. Quarry Station LLC owns a 30-acre lot located on the west side of Poncha Springs, north of Poplar Avenue and west of U.S. Hwy. 285. The plan is to subdivide the parcel into 56 lots, 54 of which will be developed for modular single-family residences, and two lots zoned T-5, which will allow for multi-family housing and other development, including green space.

Phase 1 of the project will include 21 lots. Lots 1 through 20 will be for single-family residences and lot 56, bounded by Nickerson Avenue to the west and U.S. Highway 50/285 to the east, to be sold to another developer for a 36-unit apartment complex. Dave Martin made the request for approval of the plat, asking for 40 feet outside of the 100-foot right-of-way in exchange for a lot to be given to the town.

Questions from the trustees and the committee came first about development of and access to Lot 56. According to Dave Martin, access to the lot is from Nickerson Avenue. Dave Ward of the planning and zoning committee asked whether there could be any access from Poplar Avenue.

Trustee Dean Edwards, noting that “only one access point to a 36-unit apartment building is a problem,” asked whether the trustees could stipulate that access points on Nickerson and on Poplar Avenue be approved before anything is built on Lot 56.

Martin noted that development of the apartment complex was not going to start until a later phase in the project. “We want to sell Lot 56 to provide funding for the rest of Phase 1,” he said. “An access road to cross the highway (to facilitate sewage infrastructure) should be in place before Phase II starts.”

He also said the developers have to be bonded for infrastructure for Phase I and Phase II,  which is already in place. “Our goal is affordable housing for working-class folks – three-bedroom, two-bath houses in a $250,000 price range, which is practically unheard of in this county. Go online and look at the real estate ads and you’ll see four properties in that range, and two of them are tear-downs. Having a 36-apartment development on Lot 56 will also help toward that goal.”

When Mayor Ben Scanga opened the floor to public comment, a question arose about how the Quarry Station HOA (Homeowners Association) was going to be structured. “We are trying to avoid an HOA,” said Martin, “and instead have a trail association that will take care of trails and open space.” Residents will have to become members of the trail association and be charged $150 per year for improvements and upkeep. The residents would be responsible for appointing officers and trustees for the trail association, and if no one in the development volunteered, the town would be authorized to appoint representatives.

The absence of an HOA was an issue for Trustee Thomas Moore, who said that he didn’t like the set-up of the trail association and did not think the town should be in the position of appointing representatives to the trail association. Trustee Edwards said, “We need teeth to maintain those trails.”

Martin and Russell argued that in the event of trail association non-payments or non-involvement, liens could be assessed against owners’ properties just as with an HOA, and that the trail association is part of the covenants set up for the development. Further, the developers would take responsibility for trail maintenance until 80 percent of the development is built.

Mayor Scanga closed the public hearing after a discussion of when road paving was going to occur. Planning and Zoning Committee Chairman Steve Rust then made the motion to recommend approval of the final plat with the following recommendations: limiting of RV camping to 30 days; paving to be completed by June 2020, with extensions on request as needed; board members of trail association to be residents of Quarry Station; and a W-1 warrant to approve multi-family units for Lot 56 and amendment to lot sales restriction per the town attorney’s recommendation. Ken Donovan seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously. Scanga then made motions to the board to approve the planning and zoning committee’s recommendation and to pass Ordinance No. 2018-7, approving the Quarry Station Phase 1 Major Subdivision. Both these motions passed 6-1, with Trustee Moore voting nay on both.