PITTSFIELD -- A proposal for a 30-duplex housing development off Route 7 already is facing opposition from residents who have concerns about traffic and the environment in their neighborhood near Pontoosuc Lake.
Roughly 60 residents voiced virtually unanimous opposition to the plan during a public information session last week at the Berkshire Athenaeum.
Engineer James Scalise of S-K Design Group led the session, during which he outlined the proposal and answered residents' questions.
The proposal, listed as Yarmouth Hills Residential Development, calls for duplexes that likely would be valued in the $200,000 to $250,000 range, on 45 acres off Yarmouth, Broadway and Harwich streets -- a district zoned "single family."
Scalise declined to name a developer, who has yet to sign a purchase and sale agreement for the property.
He said the proposal won't gather steam for another year.
In 1987, a similar development was eyed for the property in question but it was shot down during the vetting process. Scalise said that proposal featured a larger development area and more than twice the number of homes.
Initially, residents focused their concerns on environmental and wildlife issues, prompting Scalise to say these were "not the [proposal's] Achilles' heel."
"If I'm a neighbor, and I'm saying I really don't want this development to happen and I think the environment is the way to kill it, pick another way," Scalise said. "If anything, I think the debate or discussion will be traffic."
They said the roads in the neighborhood are narrow and already are burdened by 122 families' vehicle trips. According to the residents, these roads won't well support the traffic impact of 90 more trips per day Scalise said would result from the development.
The proposal isolates Yarmouth as the single point of access to the potential neighborhood, but Scalise said this could change after a planned traffic study is completed and its results available for review.
"If Yarmouth is the only street to get to your facility, then I don't think it's a good idea," one resident said.
This resident, who did not give her name, said she already has to ask people traveling on the road to slow down in the evenings.
"I don't want to have to do that for another 60 or so cars every day," she said.
To reach Phil Demers:
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