By Tom Lehman 1:35am, March 26, 2013 - Updated 12:36pm, March 26, 2013A trio of residential redevelopment projects received approval from Newark City Council Monday night.
Of the proposals, a plan to construct twelve townhouse units that will hold 72 people in an area of .781 acres along New London Road, drew the most criticism from those in attendance.
Among those who expressed their concerns about the Campus Edge townhouses was Sylvester Woolford, who lives at the intersection of New London Road and Cleveland Avenue. He thinks the project will increase traffic and congestion on an already busy street.
"It's not this project, or the next project it's the combination of projects which are causing all the problems," Woolford says.
Those concerns were also echoed by State Rep. Paul Baumbach (D-Newark), who also expressed concerns about safety when he spoke in opposition of the plan.
Lisa Goodman, an attorney representing the developer, Terry Lane LLC, says the residents of the townhouses--most of whom will likely be University of Delaware students--shouldn't bring added vehicular congestion to New London Road.
"We heard direct testimony from students who live on that street, who say they bring their cars, they park them and they walk to class, they walk to work," Goodman says.
Ultimately, council voted to approve the proposal.
Newark Mayor Vance Funk says he also believes traffic won't be a major issue. He says the development's main access, which is located on Corbit St., will draw traffic away from the houses currently on New London Road.
"The traffic is gonna actually improve, because you won't have those driveways," Funk says.
Councilman Jerry Clifton says despite the project's approval, concerns about the city's land use plan have been raised.
"The comprehensive land use plan is our guide and our rule on how we accept development and so forth. A lot of the communities are concerned that they're going to fall to plans like this, where four or five houses are taken down and 'garden apartments,' which you or I would know as townhouses are put up," Clifton says.
Both Clifton and Funk noted that if significant concern had been raised during the Board of Adjustors meeting that council might not have considered the plan Monday.
Council also approved two other development plans:
One is located in .546 acres along Chambers Street, includes the demolishment of four homes that would be replaced by eight townhouse style apartments.
The other is located along Murray Road, which will see the demolishment of three apartment buildings, formerly known as Hanceton Court, to make room for 13 townhouse-style apartment units.
Athey, Fogg honored with resolution
At the onset of the meeting, Mayor and Council presented resolutions to retiring city secretary Patricia Fogg and outgoing councilman Dave Athey.
Fogg's replacement, Renee Bensley, was also sworn in at the meeting.
Athey, who decided not to seek a sixth two-year term in office and served in his last meeting as councilman Monday, says he believes it's an appropriate time to step down.
"My heart just told me some months back that even though I've accomplished a lot and could certainly do s much more, maybe it's time to let someone else have their shot at it. I think that when you get new blood into an organization is healthy sometimes and I just added it together and said 'it's a nice number, it's an even decade, it's a nice time to move aside and onto other things," Athey says.
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