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Ephesus-Fordham:  Roger Stancil on Road Costs


An email by Town Manager Roger Stancil

June 20, 2014

Comments by Ken Larsen
June 21, 2014

A Council Member [Matt Czajkowski] asked a question and I thought all of you would be interested in our response: 

The Question: “Last night, Kristen Smith tweeted a helpful link to the Town's power point presentation to the local chamber in March.  In it there is a map which shows the Village Plaza road as being 'paid by others'.  

Could you please explain how the Town Plaza road has now come to be included in the improvements that are being paid for out of the $8.8 million and why I was told last night that staff could not find any documents with anything saying that the Town Plaza road would be paid by others?  Also, could you help me understand how if the improvements were expected to cost $8.8.million without Town Plaza that they will still only cost $8.8 million with them, particularly since we don't even know how much the Town Plaza road will cost.”

The referenced PowerPoint can be found at this link:  [See slides 12 and 20.]


The answer to the part of the question about the Town Plaza road cost is that funding for each road project will be decided by Council within the $8.8 million budget. Our intention at the Council meeting was to give the Council a very preliminary review of street design for feedback and comment, not to review development proposals and funding options. Design will also be submitted to Council at the 70% stage of development.  Any construction contracts and agreements regarding cost sharing with developers must be approved by the Council. Staff discussions are ongoing.

According to Kimley-Horn, who developed the graphic on the slide used at the Chamber meeting, the dotted line was to represent a partnership opportunity to encourage new development to occur. The current proposal for this road is such a partnership with the developer paying for the planning and design, the on street parking, sidewalks, streetscape and associated amenities. The Developer would also take responsibility for treatment of stormwater on their site for the road improvements so that the Town does not have to build separate facilities for treating that water.

We acknowledge that the projected costs, and the basis for those cost estimates, are the best we can make at the time given the conditions that exist at the time.  In this district, we shifted to a district wide planning scenario with unknowns about the actual timing of future development.  This is quite different from the Town’s traditional project by project planning happening only when a developer is ready to go. Conditions will change as developers respond to the Towns stated goals and plans. The public costs for all public street projects would need to come from the budget of $8.8 million.  Again, how each project is funded is decided by Council. To make that decision, the Council would have to weigh the tradeoffs for other road decisions in the district.

Given the confusion that this label on a slide in the Chamber presentation has caused, we have learned that we need to clarify when we simply don’t know yet how an aspect of the scenario will fit together.  We find ourselves in new territory as well in these discussions and we are learning how to give the Council information that is accurate and useful as conditions are unknown or they change.

In response to the first part of the question, I am sorry for any confusion caused by the staff response to the question.  Sometimes it is better to just say that we will get back to you than to try to answer without all the information before us.

Roger Perry bought the former movie theater lot on Elliott Road.  His plan is to build a 7-story mixed used building there with stores at ground level and luxury apartments on floors 2-7.  To provide access to his development, two new roads will be built:  Village Plaza Road and Creekside Drive.  The question is:  Who will pay for these access roads ... the Town or Perry?  See this N&O article by Tammy Grubb.

It should be further noted that Perry's building will add a considerable amount of vehicular traffic to Elliott Road.  Traffic signals will likely be needed, and Elliott Road may need to be widened.  Who will pay for that?

To handle the parking issue, it has been said that a structured parking garage will be built, and access will be available for customers of Whole Foods.

It should be further noted that Roger Perry is not providing any affordable housing.

To me, it looks as though Roger Perry is getting everything he wants, and the Town is paying the bill and getting nothing in return.  This is not just.


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