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Bailey Meadows development approved in Newport amid opposition

The Bailey Meadows development will include villa homes and single family homes at the northeast end of Newport. Courtesy of the city of Newport 1 / 2
Phase 1A + 2 will be built next year; the city council voted down the option for fund option 1C + 2. Courtesy of the city of Newport 2 / 2

A split city council voted to approve construction with conditions on the Bailey Meadows development planned for the northeast corner of Newport.

The development will consist of just under 200 single-family and villa homes on about 64 acres.

Matt Pavek, with developer Golden Valley Homes, said the homes will run between $400,000 and $600,000 and will be part of a homeowners association.

RELATED: Conflict of interest? Newport Planning Commission chair sells land, votes to recommend development

Council members and developers debated conditions the developer requested including the amount of right-of-way, street width and the type of curbing. The city council passed the motion 3-2 — with council members Kevin Chapdelaine and Tracy Rahm opposing — with a lesser right-of-way, narrower streets and the shorter, surmountable-style curbs.

Many residents — as well as Rahm and Chapdelaine — were in favor of a larger curb, in hopes that it would help with run-off into Ria Lake.

Woodbury has also requested a fence around its La Lake Park that will border the development.

Environmental concerns

Laura Pride Verbout, who lives on the lake, said she has a number of qualms with the development that will be built in a part of the city that had until now remained largely untouched.

"I don't have a problem with the development," she said, but she does have issues with how quickly the development is being voted through the planning commission and city council, the density created by large homes on small lots and the effect the project may affect the health of Ria Lake.

"Do we need to ruin the only lake in Newport? I sure hope we don't," she said.

City Planner Sherri Buss said that developments under 250 units do not need to complete an environmental assessment worksheet, which analyzes the effect of new construction projects.

Buss also said the watershed has analyzed the stormwater modeling and "felt they have provided enough management that it won't negatively impact the lake."

Pride Verbout said that many of her neighbors had similar concerns, and many spoke at planning commission and city council meetings to give their opposition.

Andy Nielsen, who lives in Woodbury near the development, said he's concerned about the buffer zone between the lake and the development, which is about 50 feet from shore to lot.

"I'm very concerned with that 50 foot conservation ... This room is 40 foot, so you're talking about 10 foot further to handle all that runoff coming down that hillside from fertilizers, from pesticides, from those manicured lawns," he said.

Buss said they will be examining the city's bluffland ordinance to see if the setback needs to be wider.

Marilyn Palmer, who will border the new development to the south, is concerned with water runoff to the south as well.

"I can still see sometime in the future, we're going to have a torrential rain, and the water's going to come right on down Catherine Drive, and hit all of us sitting in the existing houses that are lower than the rest of the build," she said. "We're the sitting ducks. We're going to have to live with anything you all do. ... You really should consider that we shouldn't have to suffer any repercussions because this is not going to be done properly."

Utility burdens

Newport will stick to the bare minimum when it comes to utility construction.

Residents spoke in opposition of extra utility extensions, citing concern about the assessment hookup costs for the municipal water and sewer.

Extensions to the Bailey Meadows development will be constructed next year for $3.9 million. MSA, contractors for city engineering, designed eight phases of water and sewer extensions that the city could decide to build for future extensions.

City council members at their Nov. 2 meeting discussed constructing another section that would add about $1.2 million to the price tag.

The residents in that secondary location — the Wild ridge trail and court area, just north of Glen Road and south of Military Road — opposed the project.

Having the water line in that area would have eased the pressure and assisted with any future development in that area, Hill said. That extension can be constructed anytime, so it may come up for discussion again in the future.

Residents currently living within 100 feet of the water and sewer lines will be expected to hookup to city water and sewer. Residents will be assessed either $10,000 or $35,000 based on lot size. It will cost another $4,500 per unit for homes to hook up to the city's utilities.