MIDDLETOWN — Town Council on Monday discussed a proffer amendment for a proposed residential development on the southeast side of Main Street, south of Sixth Street.
Richmond American Homes wants to build 92 single-family detached residential units on 24.87 acres, divided into three parcels.
The vacant property is zoned Middletown Traditional Neighborhood Design, which was approved in 2008.
Currently, the site is approved for 101 residential units — 69-single family detached units and 32 townhomes.
The amended proffers, submitted as a rezoning application, would reduce the number of housing units by 9%. The lots would be a mixture of small, medium and large, and the development would include recreational amenities. Proposed proffers include the development of a pedestrian sidewalk and curb and gutter on Main Street within the property’s right of way, as well as the development of two public street connections to the property.
The land is owned by Harold and Francis Adams. Bryan Steffen, director of land acquisition for Richmond American Homes, said that if the amended proffers are approved, the company would buy the site and and possibly begin construction next summer. The rezoning application was submitted by Greenway Engineering on behalf of Richmond American Homes.
The town’s Planning Commission reviewed the matter at its June 22 meeting. The panel was initially split on whether to recommend it to Town Council for approval. It ultimately voted 3-1 to recommend approval. At a public hearing last month, numerous residents spoke against the project, with many citing traffic concerns and the loss of greenspace.
Mayor Charles Harbaugh IV asked at Monday’s work session if Richmond American Homes “would walk” if the amended proffers are rejected. Steffen said the company would likely return with a plan to develop the 101 units already approved for the site.
“If we don’t, you are most likely going to have a developer come back and just submit a plan with no collaboration like we’ve done,” Steffen said. “...we’ve tried to be very collaborative and work with you guys and try to create a project that’s compelling to the town, to us and to everybody as much as we can. I can’t say exactly what would happen but I can say if it’s not us, somebody else is probably going to pick this up and just run with the by-right plan, which I don’t think is as attractive.”
The matter will come before council its regular meeting on Monday. Planning and Zoning Administrator Eric Bittner said council is expected to vote.
Also at the meeting, council announced that David Griffin has resigned as Town Attorney and that Nathan Miller of Harrisonburg-based Miller, Earle & Shanks, PLLC will serve as the interim attorney until a long-term replacement can be found.
Town Manager Rebecca Layman said it was a mutual decision between Griffin and council.
“Dave Griffin thought we just needed a new view,” Layman said. “He wasn’t a good fit anymore.”
Griffin could not be reached for comment.
Miller’s practice areas include trusts and estates, business/corporate law, real estate and municipal law. He is a former Virginia state legislator who served in both the House of Delegates and Senate. He also represents Page County and Strasburg, among other localities.
Attending the work session in the Town Office were Mayor Charles Harbaugh IV and council members Carolyn Aliff, Scott Fink, George Smith and Shayla Rickard.