City Manager Recommends That The Lebanon City Council Not Accept River Park Drive

Dear Friends of River Park,

The second meeting with the City Manager and City Staff was largely unproductive. Subsequent to the meeting, the City Manager posted his recommendation to the City Council that they not accept River Park Drive as a public street. If the City Council accepts the Manager's position as presented, this effectively kills River Park.

I refer you to the memo from the City Manager to the City Council dated May 3rd (which was provided to us for the first time today, May 16th, and posted on the City's website this afternoon), and in particular the Manager's statement "there is no public benefit to making this a public street." We reject this characterization and will be prepared to present our argument delineating the public benefits to the City Council. We urge you to attend the City Council meeting to express your thoughts regarding the public benefits of River Park.

The other item before the City Council is the connection to the water and sewer systems. In the meeting today, the City Manager agreed to eliminate 2 of the 4 conditions, provided that Wright-Pierce conduct a flow test on the existing water system in Route 10. We believe this is a face-saving gesture, because it will confirm that the original Lyme design for River Park was professionally engineered and appropriate. It also begs the question of why this simple test was not conducted as part of the $12,000 Wright-Pierce study we already paid for.

The City continues to insist on requiring River Park to install a 15" sewer line on Crafts Avenue which we believe is unrelated to the impact of River Park on the existing system. At today’s meeting, the City Staff acknowledged that they altered the calculations submitted in our Site Plan application, that those standards reflected septic system rules, and that they made an internal decision to measure capacity of a pipe being half-full as opposed to the State standard utilizing the full capacity. We offered to pay 50% of the cost of the upgrade from our proposed 10" line to 15”, but this offer was not accepted.

On the most important condition, the rebuilding of Crafts Avenue to current city standards, the City made some concessions relating to the width of the street, but the wording of the proposed condition remains ambiguous. The City Manager's communication to the City Council that "XYZ Dairy, LLC, and the City would work together to plan the engineering of the Crafts Avenue road project and scope out the project costs and establish the allocation of same between XYZ Dairy, LLC, and the City." leaves unresolved the questions of scope of work, total construction costs, and payment responsibility. Lyme has already paid for the complete engineering of an acceptable solution and it is hard to imagine how to execute a different design when the City will not commit to a scope of work but expects Lyme to implement the work.

Ultimately, it will be up to the City Council to accept the recommendations of the City Manager or to modify them. Please attend the meeting this Wednesday night at 7pm at City Hall to indicate to your elected representatives that it is time for the Lebanon City Council to support River Park.

David Clem