More Berlin Townhomes Planned

Charlene Sharpe

Staff Writer

BERLIN – Officials approved revisions to plans for additional townhouses at Purnell Crossing.

The Berlin Planning Commission last week approved minor changes to plans initially approved in 2019 to build more than 30 new townhouses at Purnell Crossing North. Wesley Cox of SVN Commercial said a new developer had taken on the project and wanted to improve it.

“We’ve taken the existing approved site plan and we’ve tweaked it to make it a little bit better,” he said.

Cox told the commission the purchaser, Insight Homes, had reduced the project’s density from 36 homes to 34 homes and improved its aesthetics. The plan has also been reconfigured to ensure that motorists entering the community see the front of the townhouses, not the back.

“Now when you drive in you’re going to see a much more aesthetically appealing project where you’re going to be looking at the front of the units,” Cox said.

He told the commission Insight Homes was known for energy efficient building and had received numerous awards for previous projects.

“This is someone that takes his profession very seriously,” Cox said.

While Insight Homes would be the builder, the townhouses, which will be rentals, will be professionally managed. Cox said it would be handled similarly to the Parson’s Lake community in Salisbury. There, Insight built rental units after the owner-occupied portion of the project was already complete. Property managers have ensured any concerns have been addressed.

“On top of that, when you’re going to have a rental amount of this much, you’re only going to attract a certain type of renter so to speak,” he said. “Rental amounts will be on par with Oceans East.”

He added that in addition to taking on this portion of Purnell Crossing, Insight Homes was also planning to purchase the section slated for development as apartment buildings.

When commission members expressed concern about the possibility of subsidized housing with the rentals, Cox said from an economical standpoint that wouldn’t work.

Commission member Matt Stoehr, a resident of the existing Purnell Crossing townhouses, thought Insight was a good company to handle the project.

“This development was eventually going to happen…,” he said. “This isn’t the apartment side where the big battle’s going to be anyway. Everyone knows these townhouses are coming.”

Commission member Ron Cascio didn’t like the fact the garages of the proposed townhouses were so prominent.

“It’s not welcoming at all,” he said. “The garage is stuck out. To me aesthetically it looks like a celebration of the car rather than a place where people live.”

Cox said that aspect of the design had been approved when the previous developer came before the commission.

The commission voted 6-1, with Commission Chairman Chris Denny opposed, to approve the revisions. The commission Wednesday also approved minor changes to Purnell Crossing South that will allow for the construction of nine additional single-family homes off Prospect Drive.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.