Senior housing subdivision plat approved

Reacting to a recommendation from the Lovell Planning and Zoning Commission and believing that concerns expressed about the design of the project could be mitigated, the Lovell Town Council last week voted to accept the final plat for the subdivision of the old hospital property on East 10th Street in Lovell.

Dave and Sharon Phelps came to the council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 13, to express concern about the design of the proposed senior housing project that would replace the old hospital on 10th, saying an extension of Robin Road, which would “T” on 10th, is dangerous because the road would point at their home at 21 E. 10th.

“You are building a risk where none currently exists,” Sharon Phelps said during the public comments agenda item earlier in the meeting. “We would like you to look carefully at it and reconsider. Currently, there is no risk, but with this design the city assumes responsibility for the risk. I feel strongly about our house being placed in risk where none currently exists.”

The Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing on the plat on Aug. 1 and asked about modifying the plat at that time, voting to ask the council to consider other options, but at the Aug. 9 council meeting, the town council expressed concern about additional engineering fees and a cul-de-sac recommendation in the name of fire safety and asked the commission to make a recommendation based on the design at hand.

A second meeting was held on Sept. 9, and the commission voted to recommend approval of the plat.

“All conditions were met in regards to the public hearing, and all conditions were met in regards to the subdivision process,” Chairman Rick Banks wrote in a letter to the council. “It is the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission that the Town of Lovell accept the final plat as presented.”

“I just hate to see the opportunity when planning this (to change the plat) go by,” Sharon Phelps said. “Once construction starts it’s much more expensive.”

“I understand your concern,” Mayor Bruce Morrison said. “Planning and Zoning’s recommendation was to approve the plat, and they assured us that they looked at the pros and cons and felt it (the road) was not a risk.”

Councilman Kevin Jones said his concern about the proposed redesign was that the development would include a cul-de-sac, which he said is a safety issue for residents needing to escape a fire. And he said it would be expensive to re-engineer the subdivision.

Phelps said the design seems to “run counter” to the community’s desire to be a safe place, noting that the road would point directly at her bedroom. Councilman Bruce Wolsey said moving the road east or west would result in angles that would make it difficult for drivers to look for oncoming traffic.

Chief of Police Nick Lewis said there are options for slowing traffic, including a stop sign, a lower speed limit, a speed bump or a “false dip” in the road. He said there are other “Ts” in town that have presented “no issues,” adding that speeding has not been a concern in that neighborhood.

Mayor Morrison also noted other “Ts” in the community but said a few years ago a house on Main Street was hit by a car that veered off course when the street was parallel to the house.

“It can happen anytime,” he said. “I’m not trying to downplay your concern, but considering the safeness of the neighborhood and the type of development, the plat as platted right now, I agree with that.”

Morrison said trees on the property also help mitigate the danger, noting, “What we have proposed here is good, and we’re up against a time frame. We need to get it taken care of and the hospital torn down.

“We have many considerations before we accept the property, but in the long run this will make it a real nice neighborhood. The way it’s platted now, I’m OK with that.”

The council voted 4-0, with Scott Allred absent, to accept the plat as recommended by the planning and zoning commission.

Also last Tuesday, the council voted to approve a change order for Spiegel & Son in the amount of $1,458.51 as the final reconciliation on the painting project for the 300,000-gallon water tank. The change order brings the final contract price to $89,718.85. A final pay request for $11,846.04 was also submitted with the bills for payment. The council voted to approve the change order.

By David Peck