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The Residential Plan is NOT APPROVED YET. Next meeting is Sept 4th. Save the Date. Pressure the Planning Board.    web view

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Hello Everyone,

Wednesday, August 7th, was the second Toll Bros. Middletown Walk meeting. The residential tract of the Village 35 Redevelopment Plan was discussed for 3 1/2 hours.  THE RESIDENTIAL PLAN IS NOT APPROVED YET.

Decision on the Middletown Walk residential application was carried to September 4, 2019. Toll Bros. is required to provide the Planning Board with:
  • a list of Home Owner Association (HOA) guidelines and restrictions.
  • modifications / alternatives to the rooftops of the Townhouses that border the Carriage Drive properties.  

We need to keep pressuring the Planning Board to make recommendations to the Township Committee and to amend the Redevelopment Plan to make it more appropriate for our existing communities. 

A snark was made by the Planning Board lawyer, something to the effect "residents who don't show up to Town meetings don't care." This in part is why the optics of a packed Town Hall matter.


SAVE THE DATE
The next and probably last Planning Board meeting for Toll Bros. Middletown Walk is tentatively scheduled for:

    Wednesday, Sept 4th.
     6:30PM
     1 Kings Hwy, Town Hall, Middletown 


Public Comment has not been heard yet. The Sept 4th meeting may be your last opportunity to express concerns about the residential portion of Village 35 to the Planning Board.  

 
MIDDLETOWN WALK PLAN. A REMINDER
  • Residential tract size: 66 acres
  • 350 Residential Units. Two Subdivisons: Townhouse and Multi-Family
  • 280 Market Rate Townhouses 
  • 70 Affordable Housings units within three multi-family buildings, each is a three story walk-up, on a total of four acres. 
  • Open Space: primarily wetlands and stormwater basins, minimal usable open space.
  • McClees Creek, a Category One waterway, is located within wetlands on the property

Middletown Walk Hearing #2 
August 7th Meeting Highlights



TRAFFIC
Karl Pehnke, the developer’s traffic engineer, discussed the impact of the development on traffic. Among the highlights:
  • Estimated 22% of traffic from the development will travel North on 35, 42% will travel South on 35, 22% will travel Northwest, and 9% will travel East.
  • During evening peak hour, there will be an estimated 196 trips, 130 inbound and 66 outbound.
  • Connector road will have a speed limit of 25 mph.
  • While no bike lanes are planned within the development, the main road will be 30 feet wide and able to accommodate bicycles.
  • Available parking spaces within the residential development exceed the number mandated by law.
The only traffic waiver being sought is not creating sidewalks adjacent to the development along Kings Highway East. This will enable preservation of a tree buffer. If granted, developer will contribute to Township Sidewalk Fund instead.



ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW
Jeremy Greene, an architect contracted by the developer, discussed the architecture and floor plans for the townhouses and apartment buildings. He was assisted by Matt Markovich, a Toll Bros. vice president.


Townhouses
Townhouses will be built in 3, 4, and 5 “packs”, or rows of attached units. Anticipated selling price is in $600,000 range with an additional estimated $30,000 for optional roof decks. Construction will be done in phases, with estimated completion 5 years from start date.

There will be a variety of elevations and facades for the townhouses. All will be designed in a “modern, trending style,” according to Toll Bros, with elevated decks and flat roofs to accommodate optional roof terraces/decks. When asked by a resident where the "modern" design was "trending," the Toll Bros. architect cited downtown Philadelphia. 

There was considerable discussion regarding the roof decks. They will be reachable via an internal stairway and will be surrounded on all sides by 4-foot parapets. Some of the Planning Board members expressed concern for safety and also for rooftop drainage issues, as well as Quality of Life issues for existing homes in surrounding areas, namely Carriage Drive.

Several residents spoke of concerns of Middletown Walk townhouses towering as much as 50 feet above their backyards and of the potential noise and excessive lighting problems that could occur. 

The Planning Board suggested to the developer that restrictions and assurances regarding the rooftop decks be made in the HOA agreement. Developer was told to prepare a list of guidelines governing their use to be put into an HOA agreement and to present it to the Planning Board by the next meeting.


Affordable Housing (AH) Rental Units 
The affordable housing apartments will be divided among 3 buildings, each 3 stories high and in a location separate from the townhouses. Two of the buildings will have 24 apartments each, and one will have 22. Apartments will have 1, 2, or 3 bedrooms. There will be no elevators in the buildings and no storage facilities. Heating and air conditioning will be separate for each unit, meaning 70 external air conditioning units will be required. Trash disposal will be in dumpsters located in a fenced-in area.

One of the buildings will have a recreation area, and there will be a tot lot playground. Residents of these rental units will not have access to any of the amenities of the townhouse residents, such as the pool and the clubhouse.

A resident spoke passionately about that situation, saying it created a sense of divisiveness rather than community. The attorney for the developer explained that the amenities were granted to residents via payment of HOA dues and that from experience they knew that affordable housing rental residents were unable to afford the HOA dues. Therefore, they would not be permitted to join the HOA and participate in the associated privileges. 




PILOT
Finally, a resident asked if there was a PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) agreement attached to these plans. The answer was that there is such an agreement for the 3 Affordable Housing apartment buildings.




History
To view our wrap-up of the, July 19th, #1 Middletown Walk Planning Board hearing, CLICK HERE. This is important. It's a history of what the Board is hearing and approving and how residents are reacting to the residential redevelopment plans. 
 
MARK YOUR CALENDAR.
NEXT PLANNING BOARD MEETING DATE:

 

Sept 4, 2019, 6:30 pm, Town Hall.

MIDDLETOWN WALK HEARING #3
This will be the third hearing for the Toll Brothers Middletown Walk, 350-residential unit project planned under the Village 35 Redevelopment Plan. The Architectural and Traffic review for the residential tract will be heard.


Prove them wrong and show-up. All of us need to be involved to make change happen.


Sincere Thanks,
Monica

Minding Middletown, LLC
www.stopvillage35.com

Informational Meeting. Jan 9th. 8:00pm, 90 Kings Hwy. Christ Church
CLICK TO FUND THE FIGHT.
Our Goals for the Circus Liquors Redevelopment Plan, formerly known as Village 35:
 
Create more open passive and recreational space, be mindful of the rights of surrounding residents, reduce additional traffic congestion, public involvement for the design and a plan that is appropriate for the area and protects our quality of life.
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