The Hawk’s Ridge developers have begun clearing land on the project’s eastern border, which runs along Route 8 from Long Hill Cross Road south toward Beard Sawmill Road.

Trees are being removed and will be replaced by semi-mature evergreens, with the permission of the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z).

The site work is visible from Long Hill Cross Road, near the bridge over Route 8. It involves about 1,300 linear feet near the highway.

Overall on the 41-acre project site, close to four acres will be cleared of trees during early site work. Some existing trees will be saved but trimmed back. “The hickories are just beautiful,” said A.J. Grasso of Prestige Buildings, one of the developers.

Two existing homes will reportedly be demolished on Long Hill Cross Road for the project, which will involve building 50 single-family homes, 60 townhouse condominium units, and a clubhouse with a swimming pool. Access to the residential areas will be off Long Hill Cross Road.

The project also includes a potential 196-unit assisted living facility, to be accessed from Beard Sawmill Road.


Flatten the ‘knob’


The developers plan to flatten a hill — or what they called a 40-foot-high “knob” — where the assisted living facility might be built, near Beard Sawmill Road. This work covers about two acres and is expected to take place in the near future.

Grasso said eliminating the knob will make the site more appealing for an end user, and eliminate what that user might see as a potential expense.

During a recent P&Z meeting, it was revealed that an outside firm has signed a letter of intent to purchase the assisted living site, which covers about 11 acres.

Attorney Stephen Bellis said while he couldn’t publicly disclose the company’s name yet, the firm has “a tenant who would be an assisted living facility.”

The Hawk’s Ridge developers and this outside entity are working to “hammer out” the details and finalize a contract, Bellis said.

There have been concerns the Hawk’s Ridge developers might not use part of the project site for an assisted living facility, but could instead try to add more housing down the line.

Bellis said he hopes his update counters “one of the fears the commission had.”


Work on Long Hill Cross Road


Another part of the project to be done in the coming months is improvements to Long Hill Cross Road, including removing “a dip” in the roadway.

The work will “straighten out … the country feel,” according to Alan Shepard, the project’s engineer. Parts of the road near the project site will need to be rebuilt during the process.

Grasso said the development team is hiring a separate company to do the road-related work along Long Hill Cross Road, to make sure it is completed on a timely basis. Another company will do the work on the interior land.

He said the Long Hill Cross Road work could take four to six weeks, and it is hoped it can be approved in time to be done in the summer when the land is the most dry.
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Some tree cutting also will take place along Long Hill Cross Road. The city’s tree warden has tagged trees to be saved.

The Hawk’s Ridge entrance off Long Hill Cross Road will include a stone wall entranceway with the development’s name.


Scenic road impact


Also to be completed early on is bringing in utility lines off Beard Sawmill Road. P&Z Chairman Ruth Parkins said the work along Beard Sawmill Road needs to be done carefully because it’s a designated scenic road.

“It shouldn’t stay messed up,” Parkins said of the time frame for any work near the road.

Grasso downplayed the amount of work to be done on Beard Sawmill Road. “We’re not going to be driving trucks in and out of there,” he said.

Much of the dirt being removed during the project will be used elsewhere on the site, which should limit off-site truck traffic.

A headwall will be built on Bridgeport Avenue so drainage can go under that road.


Doing the work in stages


Parkins said all this work should be done in stages, to minimize disruption and because staff is limited to monitor such a major undertaking. “This is a large project — let’s not kid ourselves,” she said.

She directed staff to talk to the developers about hiring outside personnel to help with monitoring, at the developers’ expense.


All duplexes in condo area?


More discussion took place on whether the development’s multifamily area should be all duplexes or if a few three- to four-unit structures could be included. If only duplexes are allowed, they would have to be closer to each other.

Concerns were raised about constructing a few “stacked units,” which means units would be on top of, or below, another unit in one building — mostly due to the existing topography — rather than next to each other in a more traditional townhouse style.

Parkins said the developers wouldn’t have to worry about needing larger or stacked-unit buildings if they would reduce the number of multifamily (condo) units in the complex.

Grasso said the goal is “to offer as many multifamily options as possible for marketing,” with prices in the $399,000 to $479,000 range.

The clubhouse will be a two-story structure, with more formal areas on the upper floor.

Among the amenities planned for the clubhouse are a large gathering room (near an outdoor deck overlooking the pool), conference room, kitchen area, exercise room, male and female locker rooms (with inside and outside entrances), and billiards table.