Wyoming developer has ‘never experienced such a backlash’

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The developer of a Wyoming subdivision says constant complaints by neighbours has him reconsidering building in the community again.

Mike Radcliffe, the developer of Silver Springs subdivision on Wyoming’s south side came to Plympton-Wyoming’s planning meeting Monday voicing frustration about complaints stemming from the construction of the new housing.

Since the construction began, neighbours have complained about large amounts of dirt left on streets leading up to the development. There have also been complaints about standing water on the lots and weeds.
Each time the municipality gets a complaint, it contacts Radcliffe or the builders – Colden Homes, Parry Homes or Vander Molen Homes – to deal with the issue.

In a letter sent to the town, Radcliffe says the builders bought a street sweeper attachment to keep the roads clean and the developer has fixed some of the standing water concerns to be a good neighbour. But, the constant complaints and follow up from the municipality under the Tidy Yards bylaw led to frustration.

“We feel that we are being unfairly targeted by certain members of the community who possibly are against new developments or change in general,” the developer and builders wrote in a letter to council. “If you drive around town, there are many established properties with standing water and weeds in excess of the allowed eight inches.”

Radcliffe and the builders want council to be more flexible when applying the bylaw to an active construction site.

“It is in our best interests as the developer and builders to keep the lots aesthetically pleasing in order to attract new homebuyers to the area and we feel that we have put in a great deal of effort to date,” they wrote.

“Continually making our two-hour drives to the subdivision to deal with these frivolous complaints cost us unnecessary time and money which in turn we have to pass on to any potential new customers in their house pricing.

“We have never experienced such backlash from members of a small community before and we are perplexed. We understand that we are not locals however we really have tried to become a part of the community and were very excited to build new connections with the people of Wyoming.”

The letter goes on to say that Radcliffe owns other property in the community and “is seriously considering not moving forward with them due to the complaints that we have received and how difficult some members of this community have been to work or even coexist with.

“The builders are very hesitant to sign up for another development as well due to the difficulties we have had with some residents.”

Radcliffe, who came to Wyoming to talk to council in person about the issue added; “What it comes down to is this is a construction site – we all understand that, and we are being held to the same standards as every house with tidy bylaw that you guys have. And we’re just looking for maybe some alterations to it or some grace or some sort of clarity.”

While council asked staff to look at whether a compromise could be worked out, councillors were pointed in some of their comments to Radcliffe.

Councillor Bob Woolvett said sometimes the dust and mud on the roads was “out of control” at the subdivision. “I don’t know how those people sometimes lived in that situation.” Woolvett added some people called complaining of up to two-and-a-half feet of water in nearby lots.

Councillor John VanKlaveren seemed somewhat sympathetic asking how many people are actually launching the complaints. Staff wouldn’t respond to the question in an open council meeting. VanKlaveren said some of the complaints may be coming because “you are kind of visible and you are the new guys in town, and you’re not you’re more than just a mom and pop operation; and sometimes that comes with a bit of target.”