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November 21, 2012

NEWS AND TRIBUNE LETTERS — For Nov. 21

Reader: Steep slopes make Summit Springs risky

This letter is being written in response to the article “Summit Springs postponed,” which appeared in the Nov. 3-4 edition of the Tribune.

It is important to note that Summit Springs was to include a 240-unit housing complex, per a letter from the City Plan Commission, not 104 units as reported in the article. This is 2.3 times larger than reported.

Michael Haas, LDG’s Development Manager, was quoted as saying, “We’ve clearly depicted on our plan the steep slopes, and they’re depicted as a no-build area.” The plan, also obtained from the City Plan Commission, depicts the proposed Daisy Lane extension that would wind up Fawcett Hill to Summit Springs as encroaching on the no-build area. This proposed extension is of a similar slope as the twice-closed Spring Street Hill Road (Via Google Earth and validated by contour lines on the plan map).

Unlike the Silver Hills area, if the Daisy Lane extension collapses, there would be no alternative way off the hill. The plan also shows five large power line structures less than 100 feet from the development. These issues could make the development unattractive to potential residents and businesses

The article stated the development had meet opposition due in part due to the steep slopes.  Two geotechnical surveys have been conducted in the proposed development area by two different engineering firms, GEM (2006) and Hagerty (2003). The Hagerty report found evidence of ongoing erosion and slope instability, significant runoff concerns and increased maintenance costs for any roads build on the hill. The GEM report noted 16 geotechnical concerns including slope instability, control of surface and subsurface ground water, unstable soil conditions, erosion control and existing ponds. These two geotechnical reports were prepared for the property owners Pam and Pat Kelley.

These reports suggest more than just steep slope conditions. They suggest the potential damage to surrounding homes and businesses that are already experiencing difficulty with retaining walls (see the Aiken Medical Plaza) and foundations (multiple residents on Fawcett Hill and Captain Frank Road).  

Michael Haas was quoted as saying, “They [city council] didn’t show a whole lot of interest in learning about our proposed development.”

My neighbors and I found the city council to be responsive, open-minded, and balanced in our contacts with them. Economic development is important for New Albany, but at what cost to the existing businesses, residents and ultimately the taxpayers?

— Aaron Hellems, New Albany

 

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