The Wayland City Planning Commission found itself between a rock and a hard place Tuesday night in a public hearing on a proposed new residential development.
The commission received an application from Mike West of Westview Capital LLC to build a 53-house residential project in a district zoned R-1 at 915 and 921 133rd Ave. on the south edge of town. West apparently had all the legal requirements met, but nearly 20 residents at the hearing almost unanimously expressed concerns about traffic and safety, particularly for children.
Chairman JD Gonzales, who was the only dissenting vote at the end of the evening, acknowledged that the Planning Commission and City Council approved the concept of the plans last April. However, Gonzales insisted he was told last spring to delay discussion about traffic and an emergency exit near the water tower.
West told the council it was his expectation that all conditions for commission recommendation were met.
“These citizens (at the meeting Tuesday night) were never aware of this issue until tonight’s meeting,” said Gonzales, who insisted they deserved to be taken more seriously.
But Lori Castello of Professional Code Inspections, zoning administrator, countered that there’s not much the Planning Commission can do right now except their deny the preliminary plat and explain why or recommend it to the City Council, which will make the final decision.
When asked about revising the traffic plans around the development, West said, “It would involve a redesign. With our construction schedule, we’ve got to get going by spring.”
He added that he believed everything had been taken care of and approved last April, including the blessing iof the city engineer at Wightman & Associates.
Perhaps the heart of the issue is current plans that call for entry and exit at just one place, 133rd Avenue, which opponents say would cause congestion and perhaps threaten children skateboarding, bicycling and sledding on the streets.
Leslie Gonzales said, “I just don’t want our cul de sac opened to traffic. This (project) is not something that’s necessary, it’s something that’s wanted.”
Chet Warner said, “My concern is with the speeds on 133rd Avenue. (Speeding) is not observed and well controlled.”
Some in the audience suggested another outlet on 133rd Avenue and Norm Taylor, a City Council member, insisted maintaining the autonomy of the cul de sacs would solve most of the traffic problems.
The plan will go before the City Council at its first meeting in January and some folks promise to have the council ask West to tweak the traffic plans.
COVER PHOTO: Though most Wayland City Planning Commission meetings are conducted before two or three people, nearly 20 showed up for a public hearing on a proposal to develop a 53-unit single-family subdivision.