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Davenport Development has Residents Concerned about Changes to Neighborhood

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A proposed development in Davenport has neighbors concerned. They say the footprint of the development doesn't match a blueprint the city made more than a decade ago.

It's something council members are talking about, and have been talking about at meetings with residents. All of them, focused on land south of Veterans Memorial Parkway and east of Jersey Ridge Road. Right now it is flat and undeveloped under a blanket of white. But everyone involved says it can't stay that way.

In fact, neighbors tell us they always knew some kind of development would happen at Jersey Farms Addition IV. But when it comes to Towne and Country Manor's proposal, many are telling the council, not in my backyard. At a recent council meeting, one resident stood up to say, "All of us bought homes in this development with the understanding that it was going to be an open air development to raise our kids, maintain our properties, grow our property values, and for some of us, retire."

A handful of homeowners say they bought into rural residential living based on a preliminary plat drawn in 2001. A basic layout of the subdivision, it calls for 18 single family lots, typically 100 feet wide. The development on the table now calls for 30 homes on lots 60 feet wide. That meets the minimum zoning requirements, but neighbors say the lots are too small. "Our perception of that development would be the 18 properties that we're seeing on all these preliminary plat maps. We feel now that if this proposal goes through, we've made a grave mistake."

Developer Dan Dolan disagrees. "I'm compliant with the plan, what's supposed to happen, and we're building quality homes." He has asked for a variance in how far from the road side yards must be. Without that, staffers say his plan meets requirements and it would be illegal for alderman not to approve it. As for the plan from a decade ago, Alderman Jeff Justin says, "Obviously the preliminary plat is not a binding or legal document anymore. They only last for a year."

Council members are urging compromise, asking the developer and neighbors to continue ongoing talks. They tell us speaking out at these meetings is the best and virtually only option for residents. Unless, Justin says, "The residents could petition to change the zoning to R1." Which could take the process back to square one.

This item is up for a second consideration on Wednesday, but must go through three full cycles before aldermen take a final vote.

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