SNOW HILL – Berlin residents gathered this week to share concerns about an apartment complex proposed for Route 346.
Roughly two dozen citizens, many of them residents of the Purnell Crossing development and Austin Circle, met at Stevenson United Methodist Church Monday to share thoughts on a 126-unit apartment project proposed for the undeveloped portion of the Purnell Crossing planned unit development.
“This is just an information meeting to get together as a group to see where we want to go from here,” Austin Circle resident Wayne Harrison said.
Harrison said he wasn’t opposed to development but had watched apartment complexes ruin previous communities he’d lived in.
“What needs to be done is a meeting of the minds,” he said, “to get together and find a plan that will work.”
Ruby Halligan, president of Purnell Crossing’s board, said she was taken by surprise when she learned of developer Troy Purnell’s plans to move forward with an apartment complex, as prior plans had called for construction of an assisted living facility on the site. She said the Purnell Crossing community was quiet and she didn’t want to see it turn into a big complex like Seahawk Road’s Oceans East.
“I don’t want something like that in my backyard,” she said. “I’m very opposed to it … I do have to say the builder has agreed he will try to work with us to see what we can do and to see how, if, we can work out anything. The end result is I’m opposed to apartments period. I was not opposed to assisted living.”
Harrison agreed and encouraged attendees to talk to their neighbors and get them involved.
“You’re only going to win a situation through strength and we don’t have enough people right now,” he said.
Resident Jim Meckley pointed out that Oceans East had already used up a large portion of the town’s available sewer capacity. Other residents questioned the impact an apartment complex would have on the local school system.
Halligan encouraged those in attendance to attend a meeting with Purnell set for Saturday morning at Purnell Crossing, during which he will go over the proposed project and answer questions.
Mark Cropper, Purnell’s attorney, said he and Justin White, the project’s builder, attended Monday’s meeting and heard residents’ concerns. He said those opinions, as well as those shared with Purnell at Saturday’s meeting, would be considered as revised plans were developed.
“Hopefully all these efforts will result in a development project being completed that is supported by the community,” he said.