On Monday evening, Nagi Osta, called a community forum at Ferguson Library’s to meet with neighbors and address concerns about the proposed Maple Ridge complex on High Ridge Road.
Osta, the owner of , has put forth a proposal for Maple Ridge, an apartment complex and a 12-child daycare on High Ridge Road, located between Bradley Place and Maplewood Place. The complex has not yet been approved by the zoning board and a public hearing will be held at at 7 pm this Thursday evening.
“We wanted to attempt to have a dialogue,” John Leydon, Osta’s attorney, said. “There are a lot of questions out there.”
The complex has drawn opposition from residents of the nearby Indian Ridge housing development, spearheaded by Indian Ridge resident Paul Longo. Longo attended Monday evening's meeting as Leydon announced revisions to the plan that came out of talks over the past several days.
The number of units has been lowered from 22 to 17 — mainly one and two bedrooms. The units will also be considered a condominium complex as opposed to an apartment complex — a change that drew applause from the small crowd gathered at the library. The connection to Bradley Place has also been severed, preventing through-traffic on the street.
As the changes were announced, a cautious optimism filled the room — but many questions remained about the impact that the condominiums and the daycare center — which remained a 120-child facility — would have on the surrounding neighborhoods.
“Nobody likes a compromise — I think especially myself and Mr. Osta,” Longo said as he took the microphone.
Among the remaining concerns is the impact that traffic to and from the new complex will have on that area of High Ridge Road — an area already congested during peak hours. Because High Ridge Road is a state road, the subject of a traffic light at the intersection is out of the developers — or even the city’s — control.
“Mr. Osta has been at this site for ten years, if there are fixes we need to make, we’ll work with you,” Leydon said.
While many questions remained about the actual impact an approved development would have on the area of High Ridge, residents were generally appreciative of the chance to pose questions and hear from both sides one more time before Thursday's hearing.
“Thank you Mr. Osta and thank you Mr. Longo,” Loris Armstrong, a resident of a nearby street, said. “We could have had another person who didn’t care about our community and didn’t want to work with us. I think this is a somewhat reasonable concession.”
Displayed at the front of the room were plans for the complex, including a rendering of how the complex will appear from the street.
“From High Ridge Road, you’re going to see green that you don’t see now,” Leydon said.
For some residents, this is enough to outweigh the negatives of a new complex.
“I want the area improved,” Michael Conners, another nearby resident, said. “There used to be beautiful homes there, when the road was widened, the front yards were taken away. We want things cleaned up.”