BERLIN – The Purnell Professional Center is heading
towards site plan approval, with the sketch plan presented for comment for the
second time last week.
Sketch plans do not need to be approved by a formal vote,
and despite the continuing requests from the Berlin Planning Commission for
more changes to the plan, developer Troy Purnell is moving ahead.
“We’ve been through this a long time now. I’ve made as
many adjustments as I think it prudent,” Purnell said. Continuing to tweak the
design means the project will never get started, he added.
“It’s my money I’m putting out here. It’s a good project
for the town,” said Purnell. “It’ll bring in a lot of revenue.”
Purnell plans to construct four professional office
buildings and re-use an existing building at the property behind the Your Store
convenience store and Rite Aid pharmacy on Route 346.
The commission first looked at the sketch plan last month,
requesting numerous changes in the layout and a traffic study. Those changes
have been made, Purnell said.
“You’re going to see a lot of trees. You got a lot of
sidewalks. I don’t know what more you can ask,” said Pete Cosby, commission
Other members of the planning commission were not
satisfied and suggested more improvements.
“I’ve come as far as I think I can go,” Purnell said.
Purnell’s attorney Mark Cropper explained the developer
had already given more than what was required of him in the process.
“As an applicant before the board, all we have to do is
comply with the code,” he said. “If it complies, the applicant deserves sketch
Planning commission member Joe Hill said he is concerned
about living in a community that approves things that minimally comply with the
“All the applicant has is the law as written,” said
Cropper. “You’ve got to know what the rules are coming in.”
Preserving the town’s character is not included in the
code, said commission member Dave Rovansek.
“Does it meet the code? Yeah, I think it does,” he said,
but if it stays as it is, he would not vote for it.
Cosby said the planning body had likely gotten as much
from Purnell as they could have hoped for.
“We have a limited authority. We can only push a developer
so far,” he said. “Troy Purnell won’t be cajoled much more.”
said he is continuing efforts to open a dialogue with the owners of the Rite
Aid pharmacy over a joint entrance, but two recent letters were ignored.