Board approves McKee’s Rockyroad extension

Board approves McKee’s Rockyroad extension

Terrapin Properties, owned by Jim McKee, committed to addressing existing drainage issues on Rockyroad Avenue as a condition of approval to expand the road and build more homes there. (Breeze photo by Nicole Dotzenrod)

LINCOLN – Promising to address neighbors’ concerns with his project, a proposal by Jim McKee’s Terrapin Properties to build more homes on Rockyroad Avenue has been given the go-ahead.

The proposed extension to Rockyroad Avenue was up for a public hearing and preliminary plan vote during the June 24 virtual Planning Board meeting.

Several neighbors spoke during the public hearing portion of that meeting about concerns they have with the plan to subdivide one lot into seven residential lots, some noting issues with properties here built previously by McKee.

Rockyroad resident Donald Essig asked the Planning Board to “ensure that the builder stays within his boundaries and that he does not deviate as he has so many times in the past.”

Essig purchased his home on Rockyroad from McKee’s Summit Builders in September of last year, and said he’s concerned about ongoing drainage problems and the impact construction will have on nearby wetlands.

Project engineer David D’Amico said construction would not impact the wetland, and that the developer has committed to addressing drainage issues with existing homeowners.

McKee said there was a “small amount of water pooling in some backyards” but there was “no water going into anyone’s basements at all.”

Town Engineer Leslie Quish said McKee has already made some improvements to the existing properties.

“I spoke to one homeowner who said there have been some positive changes, but there hasn’t been a heavy rain yet,” Quish said. She asked that improving drainage and runoff in the area be a condition of project approval.

Another neighbor on Rockyroad, Marjorie Garner, said she’s trying to sell her home and was concerned the developer would be “taking” property from the front of her lot.

D’Amico said they’ll be widening the roadway for safety reasons, adding close to a foot of pavement in front of Garner’s home in the right-of-way.

Garner’s real estate agent said they would support improving drainage to the roadway, especially if the changes help divert water from the existing properties.

Other Rockyroad residents feared that drainage issues along the roadway would only worsen during construction.

D’Amico admitted that “there has been an increase in drainage with the existing construction,” and that the clearing of land hasn’t helped. He said when the project is complete the entire roadway will have a much-improved system for runoff, including new catch-basins.

“We will decrease the runoff down Rockyroad,” D’Amico said.

McKee later said he couldn’t “guarantee” a decrease, but “we aren’t increasing what exists now.”

Chairman Ken Bostic asked for them to clarify whether drainage would be “50 percent better,” as D’Amico contended, or no worse than before as McKee did.

D’Amico said conditions are worse right now because there’s no collection system, “the whole watershed is being brought right down Rockyroad,” but once the road was extended it would be better.

In response to an abutter question, McKee said he’s hoping to complete the infrastructure work in the next four months or so.

Construction on the homes should begin this year, he said, with about a one-year period to come to a closing based on market conditions.

As a condition of approval, the developer will not be allowed to connect Rockyroad to Lincoln Avenue for another phase.

Comments

It is simply amazing that both Cumberland and Lincoln continue to let themselves be flummoxed by McKee. He will continue to push the limit of irresponsibility with his projects as long as the powers that be allow it to happen.