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River's Edge project is heading to a vote

April 08, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — After nine months, the Planning Board finally concluded the public hearing on the River's Edge subdivision — for the fourth time.

"We've redone the plan several times," said property owner Ken LeBlanc. "Ö At what point does it end?"

At the time, shortly before it ended, it was obvious several people — particularly LeBlanc, his fellow proponent Don Cournoyer and their engineer Michael Loin — were getting frustrated with addressing issues they felt had been settled in previous special permits. They still don't have approval — the board will debate and vote on it April 21.

"We ironed them out back in '96," he observed, referring to the fact many aspects of the proposal haven't changed since the board approved it back then. For economic reasons, the 33 houses and 34 age-restricted condos off Wall Street never got built after some of the utilities were installed, so it had to go through the permit process again.

This time, a major sticking point was the DPW's requirement that they loop the water line, connecting it to the existing line on Plimpton Street. Months of back and forth discussions led to an agreement to bury the line under McKinstry Brook, although exactly how they'll do it remains to be worked out. Loin said he thinks it will be a "directional drill" under the brook.

A second issue is the fact the project is a long cul-de-sac; normally, public safety agencies prefer having a second exit in case of emergency. Complicating it is that the first 800 feet of the road are across land that's not owned by the proponents and not being developed; it already has sewer, water and phone poles, but those phones lines will go underground starting at the first house.

Letters from the fire department, however, raised concerns about the phone poles potentially posing a danger to ladder trucks and/or blocking the road under adverse conditions. LeBlanc agreed to anchor them with guy-wires to the hillside.

See Friday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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