When Waterville council members began to preface their vote on a zoning permit with apologies and regrets, the residents who packed chambers Monday night could tell what was coming.
Council voted 4-3 to accept Joseph Mercurio's change in plans to build multifamily units in Kensington Garden, a development on the east side of Waterville-Monclova Road south of State Rt. 64..
Voting for the issue were Mayor Lori Brodie and council members Jim Valtin, Jeff Marty, and Mike Metzger. Council members Barb Bruno, Timothy Pedro, and Ann Cherry voted no.
Mr. Mercurio sought the change to 14 buildings with 2 units each because the real estate market would not support single-family dwellings.
Merry Pomero, who lives on Waterville-Monclova Road, suggested the city buy the land from Mr. Mercurio to stop the project. Mr. Pedro said the council had asked Mr. Mercurio about alternative options, including a land purchase, but the developer rejected it. Mr. Pedro added that Mr. Mercurio was “a fine man” who was trying to make sound business decisions.
Russell Miller, a lawyer representing residents who oppose the project, suggested council table the matter and change the zoning to R1 to prevent apartment-type housing.
Mayor Brodie and city law director Phil Dombey said the matter was an administrative, not a legislative, one and that council would act on the developer's plans in accordance with the zoning change to R3 from R2 in 2005.