City Council gives OK for Water’s Edge

The City Council last month approved the proposed Meridia Water’s Edge project for inclusion in the Lower Main Street Redevelopment Plan, paving the way for an application to be heard by the Planning Board later this month.

Fifth Ward Councilwoman Jennifer Wenson-Maier was the lone dissenter during a special meeting Oct. 24 when the council adopted the ordinance (O-26-11) by an 8-1 vote. An ordinance (O-29-11) regarding a Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) for the Water’s Edge project is scheduled to be introduced at Monday’s regular meeting of the City Council.

Capodagli Property Company has proposed 108 units adjacent to the city library and The Center Circle. The Planning Board is scheduled to take up the application at its Nov. 29 meeting and a redevelopment agreement is expected before the Redevelopment Agency at its Dec. 7 meeting.

(File photo)

Wenson-Maier was among the council members who raised concerns in September about density and size of units, pushing to have the ordinance tabled. While there may be a trend for smaller units in new developments, she said she didn’t like the room sizes but understood the concept. The proximity of Water’s Edge to the library, recreation center and downtown restaurants could address locally some of the amenities offered at similar projects around the country, such as lounges, pools and party rooms, she said.

“What was unacceptable for me as a registered architect and liaison to the Environmental Commission was that the developer refused to obtain a silver LEED rating,” which she said is very attainable. “LEED eventually will become a requirement of the international building code,” Wenson-Mailer, who sites on the Environmental Commission, said via email. The sustainablilty element of the city’s master plan, adopted by the Planning Board in spring 2010, encourages LEED building elements.

Redevelopment Agency attorney Frank Regan said the developer has a loan commitment and is trying to close by the end of the year. “Weather permitting, he’s anxious to get into the ground,” Regan said. The Redevelopment Agency last month extended its memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Water’s Edge project.

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