Construction isn't imminent, but the City of Aberdeen is moving forward with extending Middleton Lane from Route 22 to Beards Hill Road, a project the mayor has said the city desperately needs to relieve congestion.
Without firm estimates of the cost of the project and designs for the road extension, the city can't work with adjacent property owners affected by the project who also are expected to contribute to the cost, Mayor Patrick McGrady said.
"This will allow for construction if the City Council decides to move forward," McGrady said. "The city can't designate a cost or improvements to the surrounding area without these services."
The council voted 4-0 at its meeting Monday night to pursue an agreement with CNA LLC of Forest Hill for engineering and design services and construction specifications for the extension of the road, at a cost of $89,730.
Aberdeen has plans for the Middleton extension, but they are 10 years old, DPW Director Kyle Torster told the council, and they can't be used as part of the discussions with adjacent property owners.
Kirk Salvo, part of a partnership that owns about 12 acres adjacent to the proposed extension, told council members during Monday's meeting he supports moving forward with the road connection.
In a previous interview, Salvo said the partnership already has spent a considerable amount of money extending the road along one of its properties that fronts on Route 22.
"Ultimately, we need to know the configurations for the remainder of the property," Salvo said, urging the council to support the award for design and engineering services. "This is a great step in the right direction."
"It doesn't mean we're are going to go out and do this," McGrady said. "We need to talk to property owners on each side. This is the first step so we have construction drawings we need to do to get to construction."
The road will dead end at Beards Hill Road with either a three way intersection or roundabout, Torster said.
The project will include a traffic study to assess existing and projected levels of service, property surveying, stormwater and utility designs, permitting, deed preparation, cost estimates and other items.
Also at Monday's meeting, the council approved a preliminary site plan for a parcel at 783 W. Bel Air Ave., adjacent to a Days Inn. The owners of the motel, 783 West Bel Air Avenue LLC, want to build a 5,000-square-foot retail space on the site, city officials said.
"It seems like a great use of the property, it takes advantage of that large parking lot," McGrady said.
The council also gave its consent to the sale of Highland Commons and the Residences at Highland Commons, formerly known as Baldwin Manor, from Shelter Development LLC to Enterprise Homes Inc., part of the latter's purchase of 43 affordable housing communities from Shelter Development.
Because the property has a PILOT, payment in lieu of taxes agreement with the city for 15 years, the city must approve the transfer. It also had to agree to continue the PILOT, which Christine Madigan, executive vice president of Enterprise, said allows the company to offer more affordable rents to residents.
"This is an opportunity to grow our portfolio and preserve the properties long-term," Madigan told the council members. 'We have wanted to start our own property management company and this gives us the opportunity."