Nova Lane Road PartnershipLansing Planning Consultant Michael Long told the Town Board last week that an extension to Smuggler's Path will connect the East Shore Circle and Eastlake neighborhoods.  The issue of the connecting road has been a stumbling block in approval for the Nova Lane development, which aims to build seven new single family homes in phase one of the project.  The Town has intended for a road to connect the neighborhoods since 1988, but the new project only goes part way.  Developer John Young had no obligation to build the entire road unless future phases of the project bring the development all the way to the Eastlake side of the property.  The cost of building the entire road when only a portion of the land is being developed was deemed prohibitive.  Neighbors strenuously objected to a partial road on the grounds that it would cause safety concerns, and it seemed that the project had stalled.  Long said a unique partnership between Young and the Town will provide a solution that satisfies all stakeholders.

"As the Nova Lane project developed we started looking at different options," Long told Town Board members.  "Obviously the Planning Board was very concerned about the inter-connectivity between the neighborhoods.  We were trying to figure out a very cost-effective partnership, so to speak, to try to get this thing resolved.  I think we have a palatable plan that everyone seems to be in agreement with at this point in time."

John Anderson, the project engineer, explained that Young would complete the portion of the road he is responsible for to Town standards, plus contribute the cost of materials for the rest of the road.  The Town Highway Department would actually build the section of the road that connects the Nova lane project with Eastlake.

"John Young is offering the donation of up to $65,000 to provide for the 'parts' of that road, and the Town is agreeing to provide the labor to construct that portion of the road that would connect East Lake with the Nova Lane property," Anderson said.  "He is very excited about doing that.  He would like to see that road completed no matter what else happens, because doing so will have a lot of benefits to the people in the neighborhood."

Nova Lane Road PartnershipThe area outlined on the left of this map shows the location of the proposed road and phase 1 of the Nova Lane project.

The agreement not only satisfies the developer's responsibility to construct the portion of the road that extends Smuggler's Path to the boundary of the area to be developed in phase one, but also concerns of neighboring developments, who worried that a dead-end road would increase traffic during the construction phase and after, causing a safety hazard to children, especially in the Smuggler's Path/ Reach Run neighborhood.  Last November 82 property owners in the Lakewatch and Cayuga Highlands developments signed a petition asking for input into the final decision on the road.

At that time the spokesman for the group, Dave Schutz, said he and his neighbors strongly opposed the plan for a partial road, and said the neighbors were willing to litigate if that plan were approved.  While young was ready to build the part of the road that would terminate at the boundary of phase 1 land, neighbors worried that there was no guaranty that there would ever be a phase two, or any sense of when, if ever, the road would be completed.

Since then Long worked with Young, the Planning Board, Town Engineer David Herrick, and Highway Superintendent Charlie Purcell with input from neighbors to come up with a plan that would work.

"As we looked into it further, the East Lake neighborhood had some interesting concerns, and also the Lake Watch people had interesting concerns," Long said.  "We had a joint meeting with the Planning Board and the Town Board.  Forty years ago the Planning Board talked about a need to interconnect all of the neighborhoods as a public safety benefit in case there's a need for ambulance, or if there's a fire."

Nova Lane Road PartnershipPhase one of the Nova Lane project will potentially bring seven new single-family homes onto the tax rolls.

Long says that the road will follow the path of the original right of way defined when Eastlake, the first PDA (Planned Development Area) in the Town of Lansing, was approved in 1988.  At that time the developer presented the Town with a $30,000 letter of credit, but after many years passed with no project on the books, the developer asked for, and was granted a release of the money.

Schutz says that the partnership addresses his group's concerns, and he is pleased that town officials heard and responded to the existing neighbors' concerns.  He says that neighbors on his side of the project wanted to be connected to nearby neighborhoods.

"The bottom line is the man has a right to build on his property," he says.  "We've never been opposed to development at all.  We just wanted it to make sure our interests were represented.  There is a profound  public safety issue.  This completely resolves that.  There is also a convenience issue as well as the ultimate vision of the land use was to connect these communities.  Most developers don't take the time to come over and sit and talk.  But Jack does.  This is a precedent.  He puts his money where his mouth is."

Anderson said that a solution was made more difficult because construction crews must stay within the 60 foot right of way during construction because there is private property on both sides.  He said when a developer builds a new road construction can spill over the sides because he owns that land.  he said Town Engineer David Herrick developed a final plan that meets the Town's road construction standards and solves all outstanding issues.  Long said that various options were considered and that Purcell was instrumental in finding a workable solution in the original right of way location.

At last week's Town Board meeting Anderson presented a letter from Young, who was out of town, plus a check for the first $30,000 to Lansing Supervisor Ed LaVigne.

"I think we have come up with a reasonable solution to these concerns," said LaVigne.  "This is indicative of the spirit of this community, as we have seen with Mr. Young being involved with the soccer fields, and paths and various other things.  He is community minded.  This is how we solve problems with this public/private partnership.  This is a new day.  We are finding new solutions to old problems."

Long says the agreement is still subject to Planning Board acceptance of the subdivision, but estimates the road could be completed this fall.