The Danville Planning Commission is set Tuesday to debate moving forward with approval for a proposed new residential development, which would include denying an appeal submitted by a resident of a neighboring property.
Town officials and staff first received a development request for a new 7,587-square-foot, single-family residence and 690-square-foot accessory dwelling unit (ADU) for 24 Noble Oaks Lane in the southeastern portion of town early last year, announcing their intent to approve the project with an appealable action letter on March 30, 2022. They received an appeal on behalf of Howard Sui, a neighboring property owner at 1465 Lawrence Road on April 8.
"The appeal letter raises issues regarding the property's ability to gain access from Noble Oaks Lane due to the parcel not possessing easement and utility rights. In response, the applicant updated the proposed plans to take access from Lawrence Road as opposed to Noble Oaks Lane," project planner Riley Anderson-Barrett wrote in a staff report. "The updated plans were shared with the appellant who continues to raise issues regarding access and utilities."
The appeal letter was written by Izzat Nashashibi of Humann Company Inc., a Lafayette-based civil engineering and surveying firm.
"As discussed in attached emails and attached supporting documents to you, the subject property appears to not have rights to the private access and utility easement over Sui's land and must instead utilize Lawrence Road as originally intended," Nashashibi said in the April 8 letter to Anderson-Barrett.
In an email to town staff on January 8, Sui said that his understanding was that the road called Noble Oaks Lane was his private road, and that he was unaware of its redesignation.
"I do not know when nor how my Sui private access road became Noble Oaks Lane, as that designation occurred without my recollection or apparent involvement," Sui said.
Sui went on to allege that, as his private property, he was subject to liability for anything occurring on the road, as well as to the right to protect the property from trespassers.
"Like a homeowner's private driveway, yard, or home, the Sui private access road is my deeded private property extending to Lawrence Road," Sui said. "The Sui private access road is not a thoroughfare for public or unentitled private vehicular or foot traffic or purpose. A trespasser is one who intentionally and without consent or privilege enters another's property such as the Sui private access road."
While the proposed project's applicant submitted a revised development proposal that would see the project accessed by Lawrence Road rather than the easement on Sui's property, Anderson-Barrett is recommending that commissioners vote to deny the appeal at their next meeting, following a public hearing on the matter.
"It is the Town's position that this private easement constitutes a private agreement which the Town has no authority to interpret or enforce," Anderson-Barrett said. "Disputes over the use of the easement are a private civil matter and must be resolved between the affected property owners. As a result, the Town has no authority to support the appeal based on these private rights issues."
The Danville Planning Commission is set to meet at 5 p.m. on Tuesday (Jan. 24). The agenda is available here.