Ed McKeon is a former Middletown Eye editor, and resident of Pearl Street.
He is challenging the expansion of the MX Zone, and recommended that
former residences in the ID Zone be regulated as a residential zone with
adaptive reuse allowed. This is an opinon piece.
The ripple effect of the proposed MX zone change will be significant.
The proposed change will bring the possibility of high-volume, high-traffic restaurants and retail to neighborhoods which have not experienced this kind of activity previously.
And while the change is proposed only for property which fronts state highways (Rte 3 - Newfield St., Rte 66 - Washington St., and Rte. 17 South Main Street), it is not only those streets which will be affected.
Wording in the proposed change allows developers to acquire contiguous lots, allowing for traffic to flow on side streets instead of on the busy state highways. So, streets which would not, on first glance, appear to be affected, will potentially be the sites for access driveways, parking lots and commercial access. Dump trucks, delivery trucks and drive-through customers may find their way on thoroughfares, which up until now, have been relatively quiet.
And if these streets are not directly affected by traffic, they will likely be subject to other nuisances associated with commercial development - noise, air pollution, odors, safety hazards and visual blight.
What streets are we talking about? If your street borders and MX Zone, you may be among those who will experience the reverberations of this change.
South Main St.
Of course, the city needs development, and developers willing to help us build a prosperous city. But that development should occur in areas of the town already designated for that kind of activity. Or, we should fully adopt a form-based zoning code which will control the size, shape and design of all developments proposed in the city.
The Middletown Planning and Zoning Commission meets Wednesday,
February 27, 7 PM, in City Hall's Council Chambers to deliberate two
significant zoning proposals which could affect Middletown neighborhoods.