Developer holds private meeting to hear neighborhood concerns

The Walnut 10 development project is expected to be on an upcoming planning commission agenda.
A grove of trees at the end of Almond Lane are included in the Walnut 10 development area plans. Photo by Crystal Apilado/Winters Express

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The developer of a 54-unit subdivision in the north of Winters held a public/private meeting with area homeowners, and a city official, on Wednesday, April 24. Developer Jim Corbett, and the development engineer Tim Denham, conducted a virtual meeting with homeowners in the vicinity of the future development known as the Walnut 10 project. City contract planner Dave Dowswell also participated in the meeting. A request by the Express to attend the meeting received the following reply from Denham: “This was intended to be a private and ‘off-the-record’ meeting with the neighbors that live next (to) the proposed Walnut Lane 10 (subdivision).” The Walnut 10 development is planned for 10-acres at the end of Walnut Lane. The homeowners in the area have organized into the Walnut Coalition, that, according to their website mission statement, is “Representing Walnut Lane and Orchard Homeowners working for smart development and communication transparency for the Walnut 10 and Farmstead subdivisions.” As proposed, the 54-unit development will have only one entrance and exit—Walnut Lane. That is an issue with the Coalition as Walnut Lane is the only entrance and exit for the existing residents of the area. “There will be a huge influx in traffic and if there was ever an emergency, the one (narrow) street would not be a safe escape point,” coalition member Whitney Vickrey said. The current Walnut Lane is a standard size street and has served the residents in the area, to include the new Walnut Park, without incident. “[Having only one street to the development] is a 100 percent non-issue,” City Manager John W. Donlevy Jr. said. “The subdivision provides three entrances into the new subdivision with Walnut Lane serving as the arterial into the subdivision which has two new streets.” The additional streets will exist if the 61-acre property, known as the Farmstead, is developed. However, until that time, Walnut Lane will alone serve the existing and future homes. “There is no way to provide a second way in and out until some time in the future when the property to the east is developed,” Doswell explained in an email to the Express. The issue of a one-street entrance will be discussed at the next planning commission meeting, Dowswell said. According to Donlevy, the next planning commission meeting is scheduled for sometime in May. With May’s meeting likely to be virtual, the Coalition may have yet another concern as the development moves forward. “It was strongly recommended (by myself and others on the call) that the project and any further decisions be postponed until we are all able to meet in person and discuss the project properly,” Vickrey said. An email to Corbett asking if he will delay the project until “in person” meetings can be held, was not returned by press time. As is, Dowswell said the project is still moving forward.]]>

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