Update: Lilydale River Bluffs plan to go before council soon

by Colleen O'Connor Toberman

FMR has been actively involved with a proposed senior housing development on the River Bluffs Center site in Lilydale. (For more about this project, read our original article.)

As a result of advocacy by residents, FMR, and other stakeholders, the developer has made substantial revisions to the concept plan. Lilydale's planning commission reviewed the revised plan at its June 12 meeting.

Opus' new plan substantially reduces bluff encroachment. Some encroachment into the 40-foot setback is still anticipated in small areas, some of which will be on cantilevered patios that won't require a foundation to be placed in the setback zone.

FMR supports these changes.

We are still concerned with the stormwater management plan, but the city and development team have both expressed a strong commitment to continue collaborating to improve the stormwater management plan and address community concerns.

The city planning commission voted to recommend that the city council approve the concept plan, with stipulations about resolving stormwater management issues and easement negotiations with neighboring property owners. 

City council to vote June 25

The city council will hold a public hearing and vote on the concept plan June 25, 4:30 p.m. at Lilydale City Hall. Residents of Lilydale and neighbors of the site are encouraged to attend and share their feedback about the importance of protecting the river bluff as the planning process continues.

Should the council approve the current concept plan, FMR will request the following conditions as it evolves into the more detailed coordinated plan, which must:

  • Include a detailed stormwater management plan that prevents water discharge on or near the top of the bluff.
  • Detail mitigation measures for the building’s bluff encroachment and excessive height, including landscaping, revegetation, and preservation of existing vegetation. 
  • Include building design elements that reduce the building’s scenic impact on the river wilderness, such as a flat roof and façade materials that complement the natural environment.
  • Include view analyses to show the scenic impact of the building from locations on the opposite bank of the river and within Lilydale Regional Park.
  • Stipulate that future plan iterations will not increase building height (including increased height where tiering back from the river is currently proposed) or bluff encroachment.
  • Provide that the city engineer will review the demolition plan for the existing structures to ensure that demolition does not result in further bluff damage.

Read FMR's new comment letter for more information.