Planning Board will consider revised Hidden Meadows plan

Planning Board will consider revised Hidden Meadows plan

CUMBERLAND – Town officials are set to consider a preliminary plan for phase two of developer Jim McKee’s controversial Hidden Meadow Estates residential development.

Director of Planning and Community Development Jonathan Stevens said the Hidden Meadows plan and preliminary plan from Amaresco for a solar project on a portion of the Cumberland Quarry property were both postponed from a July 2 meeting.

Stevens is recommending approval of McKee’s plan.

Planners have made great progress in gaining control of McKee’s project after numerous complaints from residents, said Stevens.

Owners of three homes in phase one of the project near the Diamond Hill Reservoir have agreed to form their own condo association, said Stevens. They’ll be responsible for maintenance of detention basins in that part of the development.

In exchange, said Stevens, McKee has agreed to turn over the roadway to the town, allowing those three families to finally get trash pickup, mail delivery at their homes and plowing services.

McKee must:
• Complete the detention basins in phase one;
• Install streetlights;
• Complete construction of the roadway;
• And plant trees as required.

A spokesperson for phase one neighbors declined to comment on that agreement this week.

Town officials continue to work toward creating a local tree ordinance that developers such as McKee must abide by, said Stevens. The planner previously said the town was cracking down on McKee for his clear-cutting of trees for the 20-home phase two section of Hidden Meadows, but officials later determined that the town’s ordinances weren’t strong enough to cite the developer.

Officials have been reviewing ordinances in a number of other towns, said Stevens. Some don’t have very strong ordinances, he said, while others have good ones that aren’t properly enforced.

Phase one of this 23-unit housing development must be completed before McKee and his Terrapin Development can start building the 20 homes in phase two, said Stevens.

Ninety-three street trees will be required, some clustered together and some on their own. A split-rail fence, stonewall and other elements will also be incorporated in phase two.

The Planning Board approved a master plan for a conservation development on Hidden Meadow Drive in 2014, with each house purchased on one or two acres and about 34 acres preserved as open space.

Over several meetings in the past six months, a number of outstanding issues have been addressed in McKee’s application, said Stevens. Planners retained a landscape architect to review the developer’s landscape plan.

The three-home phase one portion of McKee’s project was never explicitly authorized by the Planning Board, said Stevens, and is now submitted for preliminary plan review.

The Hidden Meadows plan will be considered at the Planning Board’s regular July 31 meeting, giving officials more time to sort the details out, said Stevens. The solar project, which has spawned little concern, will be heard on July 17, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. prior to the Town Council meeting at Town Hall.

Comments

Some great ideas here to make this happen although just another win for McKee. Don’t finish a project then let the town bail him out. Sound familiar? These promises should be followed through for all developers. Look at Great Woods off Little Pond County. Not McKees project but another almost finished project that will never get completed as originally proposed. Trees were supposed to be planted. Fences were supposed to be put up around the holding ponds. It has been well over 10 years now and I’m sure that will never happen either. Another accepted proposal from the town that fell through the cracks. Just a word of advice for the town if you are going to accept these type of proposals at least just follow through and make sure it gets completed and not forgotten.