Proposal calls for more Woodstock apartments

WOODSTOCK — The Town of Woodstock held a public hearing Tuesday on a proposition from Joel Soorenko of Paramount Homes to turn 17 lots in Village Commons into apartments.

The proposal calls for vacating 17 individual building lots located in the development and consolidating them into one big lot for an apartment building.

Woodstock Planning Commissioner Keith Lantz said, “(Soorenko) has 21 lots that are being used currently, and 38 were approved. … He wants to do away with that boundary.”

The land that houses the Village Commons was once farmland, according to Lantz. It was developed into a section of duplexes around 2001.

Diana Crisman, of Holler Realty, represented Soorenko at Tuesday’s meeting and read a statement that Soorenko prepared.

In the statement, Soorenko said, “There is a need for rental property for working people to live and work in Woodstock.”

“Not everyone can afford to buy a house,” Soorenko’s statement also read. “This would give 34 families affordable housing as opposed to 16 town homes for sale.”

Crisman added, “The apartments that are at the north end of Woodstock only have one vacancy as a rental. And they have 30-some apartments, so there is a need for rentals in this area.”

A couple of town residents voiced opposition to Soorenko’s proposal.

Walter Mills, of Woodstock, said, “It seems inconsistent with those of us that bought property 10-11 years ago, with the understanding that development would be completed as is.”

Mills added, “I’m concerned that it is a cul-de-sac … that will create a bottleneck, and we are tripling or quadrupling the amount of people coming in and out of the cul-de-sac by allowing this to happen.”

Lantz said the planning commission will discuss the petition at its Sept. 22 meeting, and then give its recommendation to the town for the October Town Council Meeting.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Town Manager Reid Wodicka gave an update on the town’s water level.

“I know there have been a couple of communities that have had concerns about water levels,” Wodicka said, noting that the town’s water level from river intakes was 15.75 inches of water above the intakes.

Wodicka added, “For the last two years, at the end of August, it was probably closer to 18 (inches), so we’re a little bit lower than what we’ve been.”

The town’s voluntary water restrictions level is 9 inches above intake, with “high recommended” restrictions coming into effect at 6 inches.

“At the moment, we are well over the mandated rules for water conservation,” Wodicka said. “But if we continue to not have rain, then that could be an issue as we move forward.”

Also at the meeting,

• Council unanimously passed a resolution of respect for former Woodstock Police Chief Jerry Paul Miller, who died Aug. 17.

Town Mayor Jeremy McCleary said, “He was a remarkable, remarkable man, commanded so much respect and was just a good human being.”

McCleary added, “He has left a huge impact on our department, and one of the major reasons we have the great reputation in our department that we continue to have today.”

• Wodicka said the town has begun the formal design process on its planned upgrade to the Water Treatment Plant.

“We’re starting the formal design process and sort of looking at that scope of the project that we talked about – making sure we are spending those dollars the best fashion we can,” Wodicka said.

In July, the town appointed Charlottesville-based engineering firm W.W. Associates to design upgrades to the plant, which are slated to include ultraviolet treatment of the town’s water.

• Water upgrades will improve town water flow, and Wodicka noted that the town recently completed a small project in the 2016-2022 Capital Improvements Plan.

The project called for enlarged water piping to be installed in a section of town running from Tower Avenue to West Locust Street – to allow for more water flow capacity.

“After pre-and-post hydrant testing on the south end of town, we were able improve water flow on that end by about 1,000 gallons-per-minute,” Wodicka said.

Wodicka added, “I think it’s just an example of, when we thoughtfully plan and sometimes re-plan and implement some of these projects, we can solve some of these large issues we’ve been facing for some time.”

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com