We had a remarkable turnout on Saturday for the Corn Roast given the nasty weather. We opened the corn maze and the 50+ neighbors seemed to enjoy it and to appreciate the metaphor for the Lebanon permitting process. Lyme has decided to leave the site open for a couple of weeks to allow the general public to experience the land and navigate the corn maze. If you have not already done so, I invite you to try your luck at the maze.
Our intention is to harvest the corn and silage and donate it to a farmer who lost crops in the flooding. We also made real progress in eradicating the poison ivy in that 7 acre parcel and our consulting biologist has identified a regular treatment program we intend to follow. Of course, this presumes we get our site plan and subdivision permits. Once the maze is closed, we will secure the site for the winter.
Lyme will post on the web site the approval conditions recommended by the Lebanon municipal staff as well as our response and alternative conditions. We are not aware of any new conditions coming down the pike, but as Yogi Berra said: “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over!” The hearing was continued to October 11, 2011, a regular planning board meeting, and much remains to be covered by the Planning Board. Unless we receive notice of new items introduced by the staff, we have no plans to present anything other than what was previously submitted in writing to the Planning Board and staff.
Unfortunately, based on the number and complexity of some of the conditions recommended by the staff that Lyme be required to complete before we can commence construction, it is unlikely that construction will commence next spring. Conditions imposed by the City Council for hook-up to the municipal water and sewer systems, will require new engineering for Crafts Avenue and the city still has not told us which standards to use or even what the sewer pipe size it wants us to install at our expense. I have already re-engineered the Crafts Avenue drawings twice, based on staff input during the review process, and I will not incur further costs until the City defines the scope and sticks to it.
At the last Planning Board hearing, Lyme proposed cash payments to the City for it to use in implementing any traffic mitigation measure in West Lebanon approved by the City Manager and City Council. I think the offer was generous; it was certainly our hope that it would facilitate the start of construction at River Park as opposed to more studies. After four years seeking approvals to implement the River Park Master Plan, involving the Zoning Board of Approval, the Conservation Commission, the Planning Board, the City Council, and the voters of Lebanon, I can only hope that a resolution is at hand that is financially viable.
Thanks again to all of the Friends of River Park who have kept the faith with Lyme Properties throughout this challenging entitlement journey.