In response to concerns of overdevelopment, Michael Arnstein, through his architect, clarified his plans for property on Calamar Lane and adjacent parcels in Woodstock’s main hamlet that was ravaged by fire in October 2018.
Arnstein purchased 3 Calamar Lane, where an uncontrollable blaze destroyed a two-story home and badly damaged adjacent structures where people lived. The fire on land owned by Peter Walker at the time displaced 15 people from five families. Arnstein has also purchased Nos. 1 and 5 Calamar Lane, all contiguous properties, and has spent a considerable amount of time cleaning up the debris and remains of what once stood on the properties.
As Arnstein’s crews worked to clean up the properties from dangerous eyesores, rumors of more than 16 units got residents concerned about what would happen to their quiet neighborhood with the Comeau preserve as the backdrop up the hill for many.
“The town water and sewer district and zoning code density regulations provided both in theory and practice the latitude to propose a development of up to 17 units on the combined 1.5 acres,” said architect Brad Will in a prepared statement he read to the Planning Board on January 20. “We decided this direction was not what the site nor the neighborhood would have the capacity to receive. After many site plan concepts, we settled on a three-parcel site plan that includes seven total units consisting mostly of one-bedroom-unit structures with one or two bedroom units each,” he said.
Will had come forward with Arnstein’s plans in response to concerns from the public about plans for the parcels. He noted the buildings’ total coverage is only five percent more than the four buildings that were destroyed. Four of the seven units will be proposed for the one-acre parcel at 5 Calamar Lane.
To date, none of the work has required a site plan or special use permit because all that has been formally presented is for two foot bridges crossing the Tannery Brook and the replacement of a cabin that had been in danger of falling into the water. That work requires a wetlands permit.
In response to concerns about Tannery Brook, Will noted several examples of activity over or near water, including the Police Department, which he said has twice the combined footprint of all the structures at 1-5 Calamar Lane.
“Parking for a dozen or so vehicles is right up against the brook. Kleinert James Center for the Arts Main Building overhangs Tannery Brook by about 13 feet and there are many large structures built right up to the banks of the brook from Library Lane to Tannery Brook Road,” he said. “Two 13-foot-wide private brook vehicular crossings exist to the west of the subject property. Three additional 5-foot-wide to 18-foot-wide crossings can be found to the east,” Will said.
“Michael is seeking to create a modestly scaled truly green and sustainable housing-positive solution for his properties with multiple curated gardens and open space as amenities for those who will be calling it home, including the Arnstein family,” he added. “And consistent with the density and characteristics of the neighborhood, 1-5 Calamar Lane will be a great improvement to the conditions lost in the tragic fire of 2018.”