As the Village of Liverpool Planning Board inches ever closer to approving the application from developer Cosimo Zavaglia to build four three-story apartment buildings at 1225 Tulip St., Johnson Tract neighbors continue to insist that the project is simply too big and too different to be allowed.
“Yes, we know they have the R-3 zoning [which allows for multi-family dwellings],” said Dick Swift, who has lived at 10 Donald Place since 1965. “But it’s incompatible with the neighborhood. It’s not going to fit no matter how many trees you hide it behind.”
Swift spoke at the planning board’s April 23 meeting as the board continued a public hearing from March 26. If Zavaglia gets the board’s okay, he plans to purchase Marvin Meyer’s property at 1225 Tulip Street to construct four 27-unit apartment buildings on a vacant wooded lot, for a total of 108 apartments.
The 7-plus-acre parcel is located just south of the Johnson Tract residential neighborhood. Many of the project’s opponents who live there turned out when the public hearing was first opened on Feb. 26. Twelve of the 16 speakers that night opposed the 108-apartment complex citing increased noise and traffic, intrusive lighting, lack of privacy and destruction of greenspace.
At the April 23 meeting just a dozen people attended, but several expressed frustration with the planners who seem to be leaning toward giving the green light and nearly three years of review.
Swift reminded the board that the village’s Comprehensive Plan and its Community Design Handbook repeatedly warned about problems that may result from R-3 zoned areas, including increased traffic.
Board member John Eallonardo agreed with the neighbors to a certain degree. He suggested the developer consider mitigating the complex’s impact by “reducing the size of the structures” and offer far fewer apartment units. Eallonardo said a development of single-family homes, such as the one on Springmoor Drive, would be more compatible with the area.
Zavaglia’s spokesman, project engineer Steve Calocerinos, agreed with Swift that the development would differ dramatically from the Johnson Tract’s single-family homes.
“I don’t dispute that it’s not a perfect match to the Johnson Tract,” Calocerinos said, “but you must look at it in context with the total area…it’s a transition.”
Other neighbors have pointed out that adding approximately 160 apartment-dwellers’ vehicles could create traffic jams along Tulip Street.
Planning Board Chairman Joe Ostuni Jr. said the public hearing will continue at the next meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, May 28, at the Village Hall.