The Fremont City Council approved a final plat and subdivision agreement for the first phase of the SunRidge Place housing development at its meeting Tuesday night.
The resolution to approve the final plat request and subdivision agreement was passed by a 7-1 vote, with Councilmember Matt Betchel casting the lone no vote on the matter.
The council also approved a voluntary annexation request for the 15.58 acre parcel of land that was approved for final platting. The voluntary annexation request was passed by a unanimous 8-0 vote.
What has been a contentious months-long process in regards to the proposed development boiled over on Tuesday as one local resident was arrested during the public comment portion of the SunRidge final plat and subdivision agreement consideration.
According to the Fremont Police Department, local resident Linda Verner, who is in her early 70s, was arrested and charged with 2nd Degree trespassing after she refused to step down from the podium after her allotted 3 minute comment time had passed.
Per city council meeting regulations, members of the public are allotted 3 minutes to speak about each item on the agenda. Applicants are allotted 5 minutes to speak on each of their associated items.
Verner was first asked by Mayor Scott Getzschman to wrap up her comments after she had been speaking for approximately 3 minutes and 20 seconds.
After Getzschman asked Verner to conclude her comments three more times, Fremont Police Chief Jeff Elliott approached her and asked her to step aside or she would be placed under arrest.
“Ok, place me under arrest,” she responded.
At that point Elliott place Verner under arrest and escorted her out of the City Council Chambers. When Elliott initially approached Verner, she had been speaking for approximately 4 minutes and 20 seconds.
Along with Verner’s comments, much of the public comment in regards to the final plat and subdivision agreement focused on lot sizes allowed in portions of the subdivision that are zoned UR Auto Urban Residential as well as concerns about effects on traffic and water drainage that the development would have on the area.
Councilmember Bechtel, who cast the only dissenting vote on the matter, shared his opinion on the item also pointing to concerns about housing density as his reasoning for voting against the final plat and subdivision agreement requests.
“I don’t listen to the online comments, I don’t listen to Facebook, I listen to my understanding of what my experiences have been living in the area and what my intuition has been and it still boils down to that I still have a concern that there is too much (housing) in too little (space),” he said. “Maybe that’s a preconceived notion, and maybe I’m way off on this, and maybe I’m wrong on a huge thing for the city, but that’s still where I stand.”
In regards to the traffic and drainage concerns, Director of Public Works Dave Goedeken provided information about the results of a traffic study completed by Olsson and Associates on behalf of Don Peterson & Associates, as well as a drainage plan that was completed as part of the final plat and subdivision agreement requests.
“We do have a traffic study that was done by a consulting engineering firm for this project, it’s a traffic study that analyzed this subdivision and its effects on the surrounding streets and the traffic coming in and out of this subdivision,” Goedeken said.
According to the Olsson and Associates traffic study, with the addition of site traffic, it is anticipated that most movements at the study intersections will operate with acceptable delay and queuing.
The exception being at the intersection of Military Avenue and First Lutheran Church Drive where the northbound and southbound left-turn movements are anticipated to experience unacceptable delay.
“They are recommending that a turn lane be put in there (Military Avenue and First Lutheran Church Drive), which would create a three lane street which would prevent cars from stacking up there while trying to turn in and out of either the church or the subdivision,” Goedeken said.
Following Goedeken’s report on the results of the traffic study, Councilmember Susan Jacobus asked him directly if he was satisfied by the results of both the traffic and drainage study.
“Is everything still up in the air, or has all this been addressed to your satisfaction?” she asked. “Where are we at with the drainage study and where are we at with the traffic?”
Goedeken said he was satisfied by both the traffic and drainage studies.
“Traffic study wise, and traffic plans in the area, we have really looked this area over and I am satisfied that infrastructure that we have in place, and the infrastructure we are putting in place, is adequate to handle the traffic,” he said.
In regards to the subdivision’s drainage plan, Goedeken explained that all of the runoff in the subdivision will be directed south into the Jack Sutton Parkway ditch. He added that a retention cell will be placed immediately south of the commercial area within the development located near the corner of Military Avenue and Johnson Road.
“We do have a drainage plan to adequately handle a five-year storm with a system of underground pipes, a retention cell and swale we run water through,” he said.