Lowering its total units and shifting building locations on the site have developers of Day Break Ridge on the verge of finally receiving approval of their condominium project.

The Planning & Zoning Commission, at its meeting Tuesday, Oct. 8, asked zoning consultant Anthony Panico to prepare a resolution in support of the development located on River Road. No final vote has been taken, but such a final decision could be made when the resolution is complete. The commission also approved a 65-day extension for the application at the Oct. 8 meeting.

At last month’s meeting, commissioners tabled the plan for a nine-building, 36-unit condominium development on the 12.39-acre lot at 85-97 River Road after voicing concerns about the project’s density and the proximity of some units to the large rock wall on the site.

Panico told the commission members that there are some findings they can make, and if the commission finds that this development does not satisfy the regulations, he would craft such a resolution.

“But the presumption going into the project like this is you do have the right to build it, we need to be careful how we address it,” said Panico.

Panico said he received “good cooperation” from the developers, who agreed to several alterations to try and satisfy commission concerns, especially the proximity of housing units to the rock face.

With the public hearing now closed, commissioners had asked zoning staff to inform the developers on these concerns with hopes a resolution could be reached that would be satisfactory to both sides. The proposal was first aired at the commission’s June 26 meeting, and in the interim its developers made a variety of changes requested at that initial hearing.

“This is not an application for a zone change,” said Panico. “This is not an application for a PDD (Planned Development District). This is an application for special exception use in a R3 zone. A special permit or special exception use is presumed to be a permitted use if the reasonable standards of the regulations are met.”

Panico said this property has its constraints — specifically the steep slopes, the rock, the watercourse and wetlands. He said the property owner has seen staff numerous times over last 10 years to discuss various ways to develop the site.

“This seems to be the only one that starts to make sense,” said Panico about this most recent application, “as it avoids and protects the rest of the mountain.”

Commissioner Mark Widmoski said he appreciated the developers’ willingness to work with zoning staff but still was not in support of the plan.

Commissioner Elaine Matto said that the applicant’s experts have said the design was safe, and if the developers feel this is a viable project, then they are entitled to the number of units they are proposing.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com