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Purnell Crossing homeowners show up to Planning Comm.

Land owner Troy Purnell meets with homeowners of Purnell Crossing and Austin Circle to discuss plans of a proposed new development last month.

By Rachel Ravina, Staff Writer

(May 16, 2019) Purnell Crossing homeowners continued to express their frustrations over a proposed rental development on an adjacent property at the Berlin Planning Commission meeting last Wednesday.

The item was not listed on the agenda, but Planning Director Dave Engelhart and members of the commission allowed people to speak during public comment section of the meeting.

“We’ll be here at every meeting until it’s over with,” said resident Judy Hudson.

Landowner and Town Councilman Troy Purnell was also in the audience, and said the project’s builder Justin White, of Live Oak Builders, needed more time and “didn’t feel comfortable submitting” some of the sketches.

“They had postponed it for a month, I thought everybody knew,” Purnell said.

Neighborhood residents met with Purnell and White in April to discuss the project off Old Ocean City Boulevard and Sunlight Lane.

At one point, plans for the property were to build a 100-unit assisted living facility and 19 new townhomes, with the townhomes then becoming a part of the Purnell Crossing association.

Five new rental apartment build- ings, which included one 30-unit building and four 24-unit buildings, were later proposed.

White said he revised the plans to include two three-story apartment buildings, consisting of 60 apartment units on the north parcel, and 36 two- story townhomes on the south parcel.

But with one hitch — they would be rentals.

“I understand nobody likes rentals, but if everyone talks over me the whole night, there’s no sense of me being here, and I come here at the request to try and work with everyone,” White said in April.

Patricia Corson brought that same tenacity to last Wednesday’s meeting. “We don’t want renters, that’s just our feeling,” Corson said.

Planning Commission member John Barrett heard the residents’ concerns, but ultimately said the decision wasn’t up to them.

“I don’t think you have any control over that,” Barrett said.

Planning Commission Chairman Chris Denny urged the homeowners to continue following up with Purnell and White.

“It doesn’t sound like they’re very satisfied,” Denny said.

Purnell, White and other residents were also present during the April 17 planning commission meeting. The aforementioned topic of discussion was not on the agenda, but resident Wayne Harrison appreciated their time.

“Thank you for hearing our point of view,” Harrison said in April. “Thank you very much.”

The plans for the proposed development have yet to go before the Berlin Planning Commission, but Engelhart said the next meeting is slated for June 12.