Washington Street structure approved for storage units, second-story apartments
By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(April 11, 2019) The Berlin Board of Zoning Appeals on Monday approved a conditional-use exception that will allow three new apartments to be built over storage units on 305 Washington Street.
According to a conceptual site plan, the 13,512-square-foot building is zoned light industrial. The board of zoning appeals can grant exceptions for dwelling units in the district, provided they are for nonindustrial use, Planning Director Dave Engelhart said.
Owner Duane Maddy said the new “Bromley Place Commercial Condominium” would target furniture stores and moving companies, and that his company, Piney Island Builders Inc., would be one of the tenants.
He said the storage units would cost $800-$1,000 per month to rent, while the two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments would cost $1,500 per month.
Attorney Marc Cropper said the project is similar to one approved in the same complex in 2016 for Austin Purnell.
Commission member Woody Bunting, however, noted that case was slightly different, because Purnell was to become the tenant of that property.
“I think Austin’s got approved, but the one big, major difference there was Austin was going to live in it,” Bunting said. “I assume you will be renting the three units.”
Maddy said that was correct, adding the market for the units would be “whoever can afford $1,500 a month,” likely “two individual singles that are splitting the rent.”
Bunting said he had no doubt that the units would be nice, but worried about buffers between residential and industrial units in the area, which is also home to several other businesses.
Maddy said he’s had numerous plans for the property over the years, including a 22,000-square-foot high-end storage unit.
“I was approved for a shooting range there at one time,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for the right thing.
“The town is growing. The town has a need for apartments and this was an opportunity,” Maddy continued. “The demand is there … and I feel it’s a good plan.”
He added the entire property would be enclosed by a six-foot privacy fence and landscaped.
“It’s not just going to be a building slapped up,” he said. “I didn’t just haphazardly put the plan together.”
Maddy said he recently finished a similar project on Manklin Creek Road in Ocean Pines. In Berlin, he said Chuck’s Vacuum was a potential tenant.
“I’m going to be very discretionary on who goes there,” he said.
Board member Jay Knerr moved to approve the exception, which the board approved unanimously.