Im­prove­ments to Sny­der’s Flats Road, park­ing lot likely tied to plans for Bloom­ing­dale sub­di­vi­sion

The Woolwich Observer - - FRONT PAGE - STEVE KANNON

IF IT’S ALL OR noth­ing, then noth­ing may be the best bet when it comes to paving a por­tion of Sny­der’s Flats Road in Bloom­ing­dale – at least for now – as Wool­wich coun­cil pon­ders the pri­or­i­ties.

A de­ci­sion has been put off un­til at least June 19.

In re­sponse to Coun. Larry Shantz’s reg­u­lar re­quests to pave the park­ing lot at the Bloom­ing­dale Com­mu­nity Cen­tre, en­gi­neer­ing staff has sug­gested do­ing that as part of a $1.3-mil­lion up­grade to a 400-me­tre stretch of the road­way run­ning off of Sawmill Road. The up­grades have been on the books as part of a long-dis­cussed sub­di­vi­sion planned for a site across from the com­mu­nity park.

The pro­posal, which would see the town­ship pay most of the costs up front be­fore even­tu­ally re­coup­ing some from the de­vel­oper, met with mixed re­views from coun­cil­lors meet­ing last week. The hes­i­ta­tion in­creased when staff noted that ad­vanc­ing the Bloom­ing­dale project would mean post­pon­ing plans for im­prov­ing High and Ge­orge streets in Elmira.

Not­ing that Shantz was con­cerned largely with dust, Coun. Pa­trick Mer­li­han sug­gested that wasn’t a press­ing enough is­sue to rush the en­tire project, es­pe­cially as the town­ship has stepped up dust­sup­pres­sant mea­sures in the area.

“Maybe we just sit on this an­other year and see what hap­pens,” he said.

Although Shantz has been push­ing to pave the park­ing lot, scal­ing back a play­ground project to find the funds, di­rec­tor of en­gi­neer­ing and plan­ning Dan Ken­na­ley ar­gued it made sense to do the en­tire project in one fell swoop, in­clud­ing the in­stal­la­tion of storm sew­ers and paving the road.

“That’s def­i­nitely our rec­om­men­da­tion – do it as one big project,” he said in a later in­ter­view. “Don’t piece­meal this one.”

Shortly af­ter the May 31 coun­cil meet­ing, the ad­ja­cent landowner sub­mit­ted an ap­pli­ca­tion to de­velop seven res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties and a com­mer­cial lot on 13.3 acres across from the com­mu­nity cen­tre.

In that light, Shantz said later in the week that he’s con­tent to wait while the de­vel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tion goes through its paces.

“I’m will­ing to wait ... as long as it’s on the books and is go­ing to be done,” he said, not­ing that his sim­ple sug­ges­tion to take “dol­lars for dol­lars” to do the park­ing lot in­stead of the play­ground had grown be­yond his ini­tial ask.

In the mean­time, he’s happy with the ap­pli­ca­tion of dust sup­pres­sant, rolling and pack­ing.

“That’s what I’m hop­ing for – some­thing to keep the dust down.”

Given that mov­ing up the Bloom­ing­dale project would mean tak­ing funds from other projects – and per­haps bor­row­ing more to pay some de­vel­oper costs up­front – Shantz said he would pre­fer to avoid that sce­nario.

“I’m not in favour of mak­ing some­one else wait be­cause of that,” he said of de­fer­ring needed im­prove­ments to High and Ge­orge streets.

The new sub­di­vi­sion pro­posed for Bloom­ing­dale cur­rently calls for seven res­i­den­tial lots, rang­ing in size from 1.63 to 1.85 acres, and a com­mer­cial prop­erty on some three acres. The new homes would be on sep­tic sys­tems and served by pri­vate wells. Mu­nic­i­pal storm sew­ers would be in­stalled, how­ever, and would serve to drain runoff from a newly paved park­ing lot at the com­mu­nity cen­tre.

The de­vel­oper is seek­ing of­fi­cial plan and zon­ing changes to per­mit the project to go ahead. Ken­na­ley said he ex­pects that process to take some six months.

New de­vel­op­ment likely clears the way for some road im­prove­ments.

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