Last week, reader Irene Mazer asked us to find out what we could about some construction activity occuring near John Dower Road where it intersects with Custer Road. Dave Bugher, Lakewood’s community development director, provided us with the information right away. And now, here it is for you, question and answer style.
Question from reader Irene Mazer: There’s something big being built on Custer almost across from John Dower School. It looks like it’s going to be houses, but I’d really like to know what is replacing that little bit of native oak forest.
Answer from Dave Bugher, Lakewood Community Development Director: 8017 Custer Road SW is the location of a new 27 unit multi-family housing project consisting of four sixplexes and one triplex. The project is known as “Custer Oaks.” The placement of the buildings was designed to allow for the maximum retention of the existing oak trees, in part to create a “cottage style” development. The proposal includes a tot lot, private garages, and individual patios. The site contains a significant amount of open area for a project of this size. The landscaping plan includes earthen berms adjacent to Custer Road SW. There was also a requirement for an 8-foot-wide vegetative buffer along the site’s periphery to adjoining properties.
There were two significant issues with this project. The first was tree retention, but the developer has designed the project to minimize tree removal.
The second was traffic and circulation. The intersection at John Dower Road and Custer Road does need to be improved. In 2004, the city prepared written comments on the development, noting there had been 14 accidents over a three year period at that location. The city required the developer to pay a proportionate impact fee toward improving the intersection based on a $60 per vehicle trip fee. The total fee came to $16,200 which was payable upon permit issuance. Obviously, it’s not nearly enough money to make road improvements and resolve traffic safety concerns; so, in addition to the fee, the city has applied for a federal transportation grant this year. We won’t know the results until February 2006.