Developer pitches redo with Falconcrest project in Richland

By Michelle Dupler, Tri-City HeraldDecember 21, 2011 

RICHLAND -- With a new version of Dallas headed to TV in 2012, perhaps it was only a matter of time before fellow '80s primetime soap Falcon Crest also made a comeback.

Only the Falconcrest soon to be talked about by Richland residents is not a TV show or a movie reboot -- it's a new housing subdivision proposed by developer Milo Bauder for the slopes of what locally is known as the saddle of Badger Mountain.

The Richland Planning Commission tonightwill consider Bauder's proposal for a preliminary plat for Falconcrest, which takes the place of a former application he submitted for The Crest development on the same parcel.

The Crest has been marked with controversy since the city council approved in late 2007 the plat and rezone of 41 acres where Bauder proposed to build The Crest, over the objections of several residents of nearby Crested Hills.

The focal point of the conflict was the amount of traffic Crested Hills residents believed would pour onto Morency Drive from The Crest.

Residents said The Crest would bring more traffic than Morency was designed to handle, so they filed a land use lawsuit alleging the city shouldn't have approved the development.

An appellate court earlier this year upheld the city's decision, but Bauder has altered how he plans to develop the land.

The latest version has Bauder short-platting part of the land into 15 larger-sized lots -- a move that didn't require city council approval -- and filing plans to develop about 21 acres as Falconcrest, with 44 lots averaging about 16,000 square feet each.

It's a less-dense development plan than Bauder planned to pursue for The Crest, which would have included 58 single-family homes and 87 townhouses on 44 acres, but a report written for the planning commission meeting said traffic from the development still will exceed what Morency was designed to handle.

The report estimates the 15 lots in Bauder's three short plats plus the 44 lots planned for Falconcrest would generate about 590 more trips on Morency per day than the street now gets.

The city classifies Morency as a "neighborhood collector" street, meaning it should carry between 400 and 1,500 trips per day.

Morency right now primarily serves the residents of Crested Hills, where 147 of 209 possible homes have been built. Those 147 homes translate into about 1,470 car trips per day, the report said.

So Bauder is being asked to extend Baum Street to give Falconcrest an additional exit point. That potentially could divert 603 trips off of Morency each day.

City planning staff said with a few conditions that the application complies with applicable laws. It suggests the planning commission recommend that city council members approve the plan when it comes to them for a final decision.

Anyone wanting to comment on the plan can do so at the planning commission's public hearing on Falconcrest at 7 p.m. tonight in the council chambers at Richland City Hall, 505 Swift Blvd.

To read more about the proposed development, go to bit.ly/richlandplanning and click the link for "Most Recent Agenda Packet."

-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; mdupler@tricityherald.com

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