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Housing developer, LeRay at odds over project’s lighting plan

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A housing developer seeking approval of a site plan for 85 single-family homes on 65 acres of property off Route 3 across from Riverbend Estates has run into a roadblock with the LeRay Town Council about the plan for streetlighting.

Independent housing developer Paul M. Fowler of Fayetteville presented a lighting plan to the town board Thursday that calls for relief from the town’s standard requirement by not providing rows of lights bordering roads on the subdivision, which will be called Changing Seasons. That requirement, which says that areas must be lit enough to produce a “one foot candle-level,” could make the project cost too much for the developer to move forward, Mr. Fowler said.

At about $2,500 a light, the total cost could be about $100,000, he said.

“This kind of high-density lighting isn’t called for in a subdivision like this. We don’t need to light every inch of this development,” he said during the meeting. “We’ve reached the point where we’re trying to make the project work, but the cost of sidewalks and lights is standing in the way.”

An alternative lighting plan presented by Mr. Fowler would lower that cost considerably by providing about seven lights at intersections and bus stops bordering the property and one light for every house. The hard-wired house lights would be installed on eight-foot poles, he said, which in conjunction with the eight site lights would be designed to provide sufficient lighting for the project.

But that plan — to be proposed to the town Planning Board next month — received a mixed reception from board members and town officials at the meeting.

Town engineer Kris D. Dimmick, vice president of municipal engineering for Bernier, Carr & Associates, said that sufficient lighting is needed for the safety of the public, calling the plan into question.

“You want to have consistent lighting in the area for the general public,” Mr. Dimmick said. “You don’t want to have dark spots traveling down roads, and it could be bad for the natural habitat. I don’t have a final comment about the plan now but would like to see what the wildlife biologist says about it.”

Town Supervisor Ronald C. Taylor said the Planning Board will have to review an updated version of the plan to determine whether it will meet the town’s minimum lighting requirement.

“I don’t see how you’re going to meet the minimum lighting requirement with only a light at every intersection,” he said. “The sidewalks in the area need to be decently lit, and I hope the Planning Board requires it.”

Councilman Michael J. Gracey said the plan will need further review.

“I think there should be more lights in the area than less,” he said. “We need to understand what kind of lights you’re installing, and we don’t want to have a light every 100 feet at intersections.”

The Planning Board is expected to review the plan for preliminary approval at its meeting April 5, with the goal of approving it at the town board meeting April 12.

Mr. Fowler, who began making plans for the project in May, said he hopes to begin house construction in the fall. The project could take four or five years to complete.

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