A week after the Plan Commission showed interest but hesitation over a plan to develop a 200-acre chunk of land in the southeast as a residential subdivision, the Common Council came to a similar conclusion Monday.
Alders spent far less time parsing the details of the plan – which calls for around 600 homes and possibly a school – but had several questions and concerns about infrastructure that would be needed to continue to develop that area of the city, just west of Fitchburg. The assumption some made was that once one part develops, others will come soon and the country roads in that area would be incapable of handling the load.
In addition, Public Works committee chair Evan Touchett (Dist. 4) queried the city engineer on sewer lines and was told current city facilities could not be extended that far without lift stations or syncing with other municipalities because of elevation changes.
“I would say they’re lucky to do this in five years,” Touchett said. “But if they’re committed, I think we can figure this out. I mean, these are some major projects. Lift stations are not cheap, bridges aren’t cheap, roads running to those bridges a little less expensive than a bridge, but this is major infrastructure that needs to happen.”
Ald. Kate Cronin (D-3) was concerned an extension of East Verona Avenue over the highway, as was suggested by staff, would continue commuters’ “construction fatigue,” and Mayor Luke Diaz asked about alternatives to that extension or a Maple Grove Road extension that could provide enough traffic capacity.
Planning director Adam Sayre said a traffic-impact analysis would need to be performed for the area.