Middletown condos proposed on land first platted in 1980

Some residents object to plan for nine units priced in the $300,000s.

A housing development requiring a zoning charge to just over an acre of land at Bonita Drive and Eaton Avenue was subject of a public hearing at Tuesday’s Middletown City Council meeting with several people in favor, but the mayor noted she some had concerns.

Phillip Brandon of Brandon Homes is seeking approval of a preliminary development plan to construct three three-unit condominiums at the intersection of Bonita Drive and Eaton Avenue to be known as the The Villas of Emerald Enclave.

The 1.02 acres will need council approval for a development map amendment and zoning change.

In 1980, the property was platted as a nine-unit condominium in part of the Emerald Green Condominiums, but it was was never developed and remains open land that is currently zoned R-4 for moderate to high-density residential development.

The proposed zoning change to a planned development district will feature three-unit condominiums with private access to Eaton Avenue.

In the application submitted in February, Brandon described the development as “a high-end nine-unit condominium project” consisting of three buildings “each comprising a unique blend of ranch-style, two-story units with one-car garages.”

Per the city development code, the purpose of the planned development district is to provide an opportunity for creative and flexible land development where a base zoning district will not accommodate the proposed development but where the project will further the goals and policies of the master plan.

The city’s planning commission voted 4-1 to recommend approval of the plan after hearing reviewing the application and supporting materials submitted, and hearing testimonies from the applicants.

“This has been a pretty exciting project for us it is has been about a year and a half in the making,” Brandon said. The project arose out of “big needs” in the community for buyers looking for new construction of under $250,000, but now with the cost of material and labor the starting price tag is in the $300,000s.

This piece of land was slated to be a part of the original Emerald Green development. Brandon said he has met with the residents there as well some on Eaton. Changes have been made to the plan after input from those meetings. Those changes include a fence or vegetation buffer and the orientation of the building themselves.

An area Realtor and member of the regional building association spoke in favor the proposed development.

Mayor Elizabeth Slamka asked Brandon about the possibility of a buffer on Mallard Court due to concerns of residents there the city received in writing.

“There has been that conversation for the Emerald Glen side, but has there been that conversation for the Mallard Court side?” Slamka asked.

Brandon said he thought only one person reached out from Mallard Court and they were less interested than those in Emerald Glen because it would face the front yards there.

“Mallard is a totally different ballgame. It is their backyard,” Brandon said. He added he is trying to prevent new residents from “being surround in” on all four sides.

Slamka said she is looking at three letters from Mallard Court residents with concerns about noise and wildlife and nature.

“It might be a possible conversation (with those residents) since you are reaching out to people,” the mayor told Brandon.

Brandon said they are happy to reach out.

“I think that is the challenge with green spaces, they kind of become quasi public use for a long time because they sit empty. I think that is the down side of new construction. There’s a lot of upsides to development. We are going to try to maintain as much of the of the treeline as we can,” Brandon said.

Included with city documents are five letters from residents opposed.

A resident of Mallard Court said she is “strongly opposed” to building condos behind her house. Other residents say the neighborhood is quiet and peaceful and they enjoy the wildlife on the land.

A longtime resident of Eaton Avenue said she is opposed to the road being “opened up” for new development, stating it will cause noise and traffic in an neighborhood where “neighbors know each other and look out for each other.”

About the Author