Monday, February 25, 2013

Zoning Change Will Reverberate Through Middletown's Neighborhoods

COMMENTARY
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.

Hunting Hill
Birdsey St.
Lake St.
Cottage St.
Burr Ave.
Warwick St.
Oak St.
Glynn Ave.
Loveland St.
Hubbard St.
South Main St.
Pleasant St.
Broad St.
Pearl St.
High St.
Longworth
Liberty St.
Lincoln St.
Park Place
Berlin St.
Crescent 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.

8 comments:

newpawta said...

I agree WHOLEHEARTEDLY with Ed. I am always in favor of preservation of character, history and ambiance versus sprawl, noise and visual displeasure. I'm not sure what the Chamber of Commerce's motive is for supporting the zoning change, other than increased membership. I live on Warwick Street, which is already a dangerous cut-through between the relative Nirvana of High Street and the haphazard mixed development of South Main. I would hate to see the remaining grand dames of South Main and Washington razed and replaced with garish caricatures of pseudo-retro design, or worse, flat tops. I am likely a temporary resident here and hope someday to return to my hometown of Newport, RI, where a strong historical society and other lobbies have for many years managed to keep most of the eyesores on the outskirts. I wish the same for Middletown, as I have roots here in the immigrant population, so it has a place in my heart. Hopefully it will remain a PRETTY place!

a neighbor said...

Ed, when was that photo taken, ten years ago? Make your case, state your opinion, but please, stick to reality. The building you presented has been vacant for over two years. It is close to being cited on the city's blighted buildings list. Unfortunately, it has been a very long time since it looked like your photo.

Anonymous said...

This property is on Lincoln. It is a 5 unit. It has been occupied for the past 4 years since I lived in this neighborhood. I walk by it nearly every day.

Casual Observer said...

I think there are points to be made pro and con on the Landino proposal. But it's difficult to say that retail does not belong on Rt. 66. In an effort to circle the wagons, Ed's proposal, on the other hand, will have a major negative impact on property values of owners in this area. This will seriously reduce what people can do with their properties compared to presently. I also want to say that it is truly unfair for someone (Ed) who has sole control over a media forum like this to be such a relentless advocate for or against any issue. The Middletown Eye has become Ed's Mouthpiece, and it does a disservice to the community, which is entitled to get a balanced portrayal of issues.

Stephen Devoto said...

Casual Observer: "truly unfair ... [Ed] has sole control over [The Eye]...".

Seriously?

The Middletown Eye has about 50 registered authors, it would be newsworthy indeed if each and every one of us is under the sole control of Ed.

Ed did found The Eye, but he is currently no more involved in decisions about its content than any other author. He only controls what is in his own articles. Three administrators (Karen Swartz, Jen Alexander, and myself) moderate comments and occasionally do a little cosmetic reformatting of posts, but we do not exert any substantive influence on what is posted. Only the author determines content.

If you feel that the writing is not balanced in The Eye (it's a "relentless advocate"), you have the power to change it. Write what is missing, and it won't be missing anymore.

I would LOVE to see a weekly or monthly opinion piece written from a totally different perspective than is usually found in The Eye.

Will you please write it?

Casual O said...

Thanks- Might just do that!

Jen Alexander said...

Newpawta: Please considering coming to the Planning and Zoning commission meeting tonight (Wed, Feb 27) and express these points to the people who will make this decision - they don't live on Warwick Street and they need your valuable insight about how this change will affect people who live near the proposed zone change. The meeting is on at 7 pm, at City Hall. Each person gets 3 minutes to speak. Thank you !

Anonymous said...

I live there! That's a recent picture! I completely agree with Ed on this issue, as do the vast majority of the people I've spoken with in the neighborhood. I can't make it to the meeting, but I'm wondering if a petition might be useful in this case to show the zoning commission that while Ed might be the face of the opposition, he is supported by MANY in the community.