John Cravath said it is a road too far, or at least one with a price that’s too steep.
“No one wants it, except city staff members, who don’t care about cost,” the owner of Cravath Homes told the Rochester City Council during a public hearing Monday.
The street in question would be an addition to Cravath’s plans for a townhome subdivision planned at the northwest corner of Jordyn Road and 19th Street Northwest.
The submitted plan calls for building 144 townhomes in a phased project that includes streets looping north from 19th Street Northwest, but the city’s Community Development staff has suggested making a street connection to future development west of the subdivision.
City Planner Desmond McGeough said the goal is to provide a shorter, alternate route out of the proposed development.
“Our code does require that we make connections,” he said.
However, Chris Barber, a project manager for WSB and Associates, said the proposed street, which would dead end until development continues on adjacent property, would drive up costs for the project’s townhomes.
“We are going to be increasing the amount of roads out there with no net gain to residences,” he said of the proposed street addition.
Additionally, he said the only option that would not decrease the number of homes would come at a higher cost, since it would require significant alteration to the topography. The development is in a valley.
City Engineer Dillon Dombrovski said complying with existing city standards would take added effort.
“There are definitely some engineering challenges, but it can be done,” he said, noting it could come with added cost to development due to the landscape.
The majority of the City Council, in a 4-1 vote, agreed to keep the street requirement in place, at least for now.
“We can always take things out, but we can’t put things in,” Council Member Michael Wojcik said in proposing approval of the revised development plan.
According to Barber’s description of the project, the new street connection would be part of the fifth phase for the 55-acre development.
The council’s sole dissenting vote Monday came from Council President Randy Staver, who objected to a proposal that the development’s planned cul-de-sac be established as a private street, rather than being part of the future public roadway.
“Calling it a private street simply because it’s a cul-de-sac and the street ends, doesn’t make sense to me,” he said, noting the city already has hundreds of cul-de-sacs that are public streets.
The proposed cul-de-sac is also in the area Barber identified as the project’s fifth phase.
Wojcik again argued that it could be changed in the future, but noted that the number of cul-de-sacs is becoming a challenge for maintenance efforts.
“It’s digging this hole that we’ve already got and making it bigger,” he said.
Council Member Mark Bilderback joined in accepting the proposal, but noted the council plans to address policies related to the creation of cul-de-sacs.
“I question the whole value of the road here, if it’s just going to serve a small population,” he said, noting the entire proposed street could be considered private.