NETHER PROVIDENCE — Plans for a new duplex development on Wallingford Avenue that have sparked opposition from some neighbors will once again be on the agenda of the township board of commissioners.

Specifically, the board will need to decide whether a rezoning of the property is acceptable for the five-acre property following a recent decision by the planning commission to recommend such a change.

The commissioners are expected to take up the matter at their meeting on Aug. 22.

Assistant township Manager Dave Grady said the planning commission recommended the board “initiate the process to rezone the 310 Wallingford Avenue site from R-3 to R-5.”

“The plans that were proposed by Progressive New Homes and reviewed by the planning commission illustrated what the development of the site would look like if it is rezoned to R-5. That submittal was just a sketch plan, so it wasn't the project itself that was recommended for approval,” he said.

An R-5 zoning designation allows for greater housing density.

Under the latest proposal for the South Media site, located adjacent to Sapovits Park, Progressive New Homes would construct a dozen duplex buildings containing two units each and a pair of single-family detached buildings, for a total of 26 units.

This is reduced from a previous plan calling for 32 units, which was previously rejected by the planning commission on May 6. The panel cited density, stormwater management, parking and other concerns when it issued its decision.

Sarah Peck, Progressive New Homes’ president, said she was pleased with the commission’s Aug. 5 vote in favor of the proposed zoning alteration, saying it was requested by “many of the South Media neighbors.”

“This brings us one step closer to creating a community that will fit in architecturally with the existing historic neighborhood while also appealing to empty nesters and seniors needing homes with few steps and low maintenance,” she said.

“Importantly, the new homes will be more affordably priced and within reach of first-time home buyers while still generating significant tax revenues without burdening the school district.”

Grady said the board of commissioners will discuss the application at its meeting on Aug. 22,

“Since the planning commission is advisory in nature, the board of commissioners will have the final say over the site's zoning. If they vote to proceed with rezoning the site, public hearings will be held and an ordinance will need to be considered before the rezoning can legally take effect,” he said.

Should the commissioners vote against the rezoning, Progressive New Homes would likely proceed with a separate plan that received preliminary approval in March and complies with the existing R-3 zoning for the property.

That concept would involve the construction of 10 single-family homes on the tract. Those homes would sell for about $500,000 each.

However, at the urging of some nearby residents, the firm agreed to put together a plan that would involve more units at lower prices. The first iteration of that plan called for 16 buildings, with duplexes on lower and upper levels that would sell for approximately $250,000 and $375,000 each, respectively.

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