JOHNSTOWN - Concerned residents of Pine Avenue and neighboring areas attended a recent Town Board meeting to express their opposition to a housing project proposed for the end of the avenue.
Despite Supervisor Nancy MacVean's attempt to explain the meeting Thursday was about the annexation of town land into the city - an annexation requested by Jovan Boljanic, the landowner proposing the project - community members continued to question the traffic the project would cause.
Those in attendance also questioned if problems could arise from septic tanks at the homes, which could be needed if the annexation fails or an agreement between the town and city isn't reached.
Gary Collar -?a resident of Elmwood Avenue, which is downhill from the project site - said Friday a neighbor has had problems with sewage flooding his basement from the houses already in the area and wondered how this development would affect the issue.
"If we're having these problems [with sewage] now, what's going to happen with 11 new houses?" Collar asked. "Let's find out where this water is going to go."
Boljanic said Friday he believes the opposition is due to a concern about the value of the houses that are going to be built. Boljanic estimated the houses he would construct would sell for $200,000 and they would be one-family homes.
"I think they're jumping through hoops," Boljanic said. "They think we're going to be putting some [poor] houses there. The case is, I'm putting in better houses than the rest on the street."
Boljanic said the reason he asked for the annexation is because the city would allow him to build 11 houses with water and sewer lines as opposed to the three or four houses the town would allow.
In addition to the houses he is building by himself and the help of local amish workers, Boljanic said the road he would have to put in would cost between $200,000 and $300,000.
MacVean said the concerned residents can contact there local officials anytime to discuss their unease, but the town and city have to come to an agreement on what to do with the land-annexation issue.
"We have to get the three municipalities together so there are no more roadblocks with development," she said. "I want to welcome new industries to the area. If we can work together, it would make it easier on the new developers rather than make it harder on them."
Mayor Sarah Slingerland shared similar sentiments regarding the community's concerns.
With regards to the annexation and the project, Slingerland said it is hard to comment without any offered solutions.
"All things are open to discussion," Slingerland said. "The city of Johnstown is following the lead of the developer. It looks like what he has planned are beautiful homes in a beautiful setting. It's exactly what people are looking for."
The two municipalities have 90 days from Thursday's meeting to come to an agreement, giving them a Sept. 12 deadline.