2007-09-29 / News

Construction entrance moved after protest

By Scott Rawdon

BUCKEYE LAKE- Maple Bay residents were horrified to discover a construction entrance to a new subdivision right across from Julia Street on Hunts Landing Road.

They expected the construction entrance to be on the other side of the subdivision, hundreds of yards away from their homes and any others. About a dozen Maple Bay residents met Sept. 19 with construction managers of the Landings at Maple Bay - a 78-unit condominium development located on the southwest side of Hunts Landing Road in the Village of Buckeye Lake - and Buckeye Lake Village officials to ask why the construction entrance was misplaced.

Richard Wolney, construction manager for the Landings at Maple Bay, took full responsibility for the mishap, saying that he's usually part of the construction process from the beginning of his subdivisions. For this project, however, he came on board after many of the plans were already made. He said the misplaced construction entrance is exactly where he thought it was supposed be according to the plans he received. He apologized to the Maple Bay residents and assured them the construction entrance would be moved to the west on Hunts Landing Road, where the residents understood it would be.

"That was a piece of communication that was screwed up," said Karen Cookston, chair of the Buckeye Lake Planning Commission. She assured the Maple Bay residents it was also her understanding that the construction entrance was to be farther west on Hunts Landing Road and she was just as surprised as they were when it was cut near Julia Street. She said construction was halted immediately when she learned of the problem. "We will, as Buckeye Lake Village, be kind to our neighbors," said Cookston.

Some Maple Bay residents said they were concerned, especially when they saw the misplaced construction entrance, that the Village of Buckeye Lake was making decisions that affect Licking Township residents without consulting the township residents.

Cookston said that was absolutely not the case. There were many public meetings regarding the Landings at Maple Bay and the plans have always been available to everyone at the Buckeye Lake Village Offices. "People have participated all the way through (the process)," she said. "We listened to all of you."

Maple Bay resident Gretchen Fickle said when she saw the misplaced construction entrance, she felt as though no one was paying attention to the concerns Maple Bay residents have raised from the beginning. She expects to be reasonably inconvenienced by the subdivision construction, but she doesn't expect to be ignored.

Cookston reiterated that she fully expected the construction entrance to be farther west. She encouraged Maple residents to contact her, Wolney, or development partner Bill O'Malley whenever they have questions about the subdivision in the future. Cookston said that either O'Malley or Wolney should be on site most of the time and she can be contacted through the Village of Buckeye Lake. She warned against speaking with any of the contractors, simply because most of them aren't familiar with the entire project and may give the wrong information.

Wolney told Maple Bay residents that other than top soil, dirt will remain on site and will not be trucked out. He added that most of the removed trees will be chipped, and there will not be trucks hauling logs from the site. He told the residents the developer will repair any damage construction vehicles cause to Hunts Landing Road, all materials and equipment will be stored on site. Most or all of the excavation and grading equipment will use the new Hunts Landing construction entrance. Wolney added that none of the site's wetlands will be touched until all the necessary evironmental permits are received. Cookston said at some point contractors will need to use the existing construction entrance near Julia Street, particularly when the project gets closer to Phase II, called the Residences at Maple Bay. The existing construction entrance will only be used when the new Hunts Landing construction entrance is not available. She said she'll receive bi-weekly updates on the subdivision's progress from an independent engineer.

"At this point, we just have to move forward," said Fickle after the meeting. "It sounds as though they are willing to entertain our concerns." Other Maple Bay residents said they were satisfied with the results of the meeting, but will keep an eye on the project.

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