The Richland City Council tonight may approve a new development on the ridge of Little Badger Mountain.
The council is set to consider the preliminary plat for Falconcrest, a 44-lot housing subdivision proposed by Milo Bauder.
But because the Planning Commission already had a public hearing about the subdivision, the council won't take any more testimony and must base its decision on about a 800-page record of documents and testimony forwarded by the commission along with its recommendation for approval.
Bauder's plans for the land have been the subject of controversy since 2007, when he proposed a different subdivision called The Crest, which would have included 58 single-family homes and 87 townhouses on 44 acres.
The focal point of the conflict was the amount of traffic Crested Hills residents believed would pour onto Morency Drive from The Crest.
Residents again raised those objections during the Planning Commission's hearing in December, arguing the road is too narrow, steep and winding for current traffic let alone more.
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, a city staff report said.
Bauder's latest plan has him 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, but a report written for the commission meeting said traffic from the development still will exceed what Morency was designed for.
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.
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 engineers said.
-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; firstname.lastname@example.org