Weekly Feature

2018-08-08 / Front Page

Drainage concerns flood Planning Board hearing on Cannon Woods


The contentious Cannon Woods subdivision is only now ready for preliminary review, but at the Planning Board’s Aug. 1 meeting, Chairman Robert Sackett succinctly summed up the outpouring of comments from residents.

“It would be an understatement to say that water is a concern,” he said.

The proposed 40-lot subdivision on the north side of Roll Road, east of Thompson Road, has been at the center of residential concerns involving potential drainage issues if the project is approved.

“We’re aware of the concerns of the neighbors relative to the issue of drainage, wetlands, traffic. All of those things will be considered as we move forward through the [State Environmental Quality Review] process,” said Jeffery Palumbo of Barclay Damon LLP, who represented the project at last week’s meeting.

Since the inception of the Cannon Woods proposal, residents have been reminded of the controversial Camp-Roll proposal that failed to launch in 2016. Homeowners have consistently packed Town Hall at each meeting in which the Cannon Woods subdivision appears on the agenda, pleading with town officials to consider potential drainage and traffic problems that might be caused by the development.

Felix Maurent, a resident of Roll Road, told the Town Board last month that drainage issues have caused anxiety throughout the neighborhood and that such issues must be considered prior to any new development that may worsen them.

“I would like to see what the impact of building this subdivision will have on those wetlands, because if they shift like they have done in the past according to what I have seen between 2010 and now, there’s going to be a flooding issue in our backyard,” he said.

“If the water from the subdivision goes into the wetlands, who’s responsible to keep it from going onto other properties?” asked Jim Blum, a resident of Martha’s Vineyard. “Even though you introduce drainage along the back of the properties, if the water flow is not properly directed, it will not get into the receivers, and the water will go on.”

Renata Vitale is a Clarence resident who will soon move into a home on Thompson Road with her family. She publicly wondered whether the town is seriously considering the water problems that residents currently face.

“If the town acknowledges that Martha’s Vineyard, which broke ground more than 10 years ago, currently does not follow drainage codes set by today’s standards, and I recognize that legally they don’t have to because they are grandfathered, have there been any actions to evaluate resident concerns regarding existing drainage when it comes to surrounding properties?”

Despite assurances from town officials that, under law, a new development cannot exacerbate existing drainage conditions, residents have flocked to meetings to express claims to the contrary.

“Since Martha’s Vineyard has been there, I am getting much more water in the back of my property,” said Jacqueline Hartmann, a homeowner to the north of the proposed subdivision. “This [Cannon Woods] is going to be right on top of us. My experience is that when things get built, then there’s a lot of trouble to change things.”

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