The project developer said he hasn't decided on the number or type of units to be built.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
NILES -- Thomas Bowen is concerned about water runoff onto his property from a development proposed behind him.
Bowen, of Rhodes Avenue, some of his neighbors, council members, Mayor Ralph A. Infante Jr. and Jerry Altobelli, the developer, discussed the project Wednesday.
Altobelli, also of Rhodes Avenue, wants to develop a 20-acre parcel on Niles Vienna Road that abuts the neighborhood of upscale homes on Rhodes. The parcel also is adjacent to Stevens Park.
Infante sent letters to council members last week, informing them about Wednesday's meeting. The meeting wasn't advertised and Councilman Stephen Papalas, D-at large, notified residents.
Here's the problem: Bowen said that in periods of heavy rain, his and neighbors' sump pumps run nonstop because of water that collects on their properties.
"With all of the roofs and the buildings, we just think it will get worse," he said.
Residents also are concerned about lot sizes. The property is zoned for single-family homes and permits condominiums.
Altobelli hasn't decided the makeup of the plan. He doesn't know the number of homes. He said he's primarily looking at single-family homes but acknowledged condominiums or villas as a possibility.
Papalas said he wants Altobelli to get an engineer involved in the project to assure council members and residents that issues such as drainage are addressed.
"Based on what I've heard, everything you're saying is predicated with if," Papalas said.
What's caused problem: In the past, the city approved developments when developers described their plans, but the developers didn't always follow those plans, surrounding residents endured problems such as poor drainage for years and the city ended up having to fix them, he said.
"Every time it rains, my boss gets teed off," Papalas said. "And my boss is the people."
Altobelli said decisions about the development haven't been made.
"When the time comes and I decide, the city will tell me what I need to do," he said. "I can't commit to something when I haven't decided yet. That would be like lying to you."
The first step Altobelli would have to take is filing preliminary site development and storm water management plans with the city's engineering department.