By Rachel Ravina, Staff Writer, and Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(April 11, 2019) Purnell Crossing residents on Monday continued to oppose a planned new development they said did not match the project they initially supported.
Last month, members of the 27-unit condominium association stormed a Berlin Planning Commission meeting when they learned owner and Town Councilman Troy Purnell had asked to modify the planned unit development for the community.
Previously approved plans included a 100-unit assisted living facility and 19 new townhomes, with the townhomes then becoming a part of the association.
However, Purnell now hopes to build five new rental apartment buildings, including one 30-unit building and four 24-unit buildings.
Developers argued the total number of units was virtually the same under both plans, while homeowners argued the apartments would be too close their homes and not consistent with the small-town character of Purnell Crossing, and of Berlin as a whole.
Residents said the apartments would lower property values and upset what has been a quiet, serene and safe community. They also said there was little notice given before the planning commission meeting.
About a dozen homeowners attended an informal meeting at Stevenson United Methodist Church on Monday, when many urged continued public participation.
“We don’t have enough community involvement,” Purnell Crossing resident Wayne Harrison said. “We need a way [to] get the next meeting going and get everyone involved … even if we have to meet on the sidewalk.”
Ruby Halligan, president of Purnell Crossing Board, said she was not opposed to an assisted living facility being built, but five new apart buildings was another story.
“I don’t want something like that in my backyard,” she said. “I’m very opposed to it.”
Halligan also urged homeowners to continue making their voices heard during upcoming Berlin Planning Commission meetings, the next of which is scheduled on Wednesday, April 17 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall on 10 William Street.
She also asked residents to sign a petition, and to attend an informational presentation by Purnell at 8 a.m. this Saturday, in the community off Old Ocean City Boulevard in Berlin.
“We need to protect our investment in our community,” Halligan said.