Housing project ordinance rejected


WILMINGTON — Citing public sentiment as the primary reason, the Wilmington City Council rejected an ordinance Thursday that would have approved a potential housing project for West Truesdell Street.

While a third and final reading was approved (4-2), the council voted against the ordinance, 5-1, at Thursday’s regular meeting.

Council members Jonathan McKay, Don Wells, Bob Osborn, Michael Allbright, and Nick Eveland voted “No.” Council member Josh Schlabach voted “Yes.” Council member Michael Snarr was not present at the meeting.

The planning unit development (PUD) at the center of the ordinance was approved by the Wilmington City Planning Commission on Sept. 5 after a public hearing and discussion and was recommended for the council to approve.

According to the ordinance, the unit is owned by Larry and Freda Britain and “provides 28 attached Single-Family Homes on 3.095 acres.”

The first reading of the ordinance, performed on Oct. 19, was approved unanimously by the present members. The second reading, performed on Nov. 2, was approved in a 5-1 vote. Wells was the one “no” vote.

Before the vote on Thursday evening, a few of the council members expressed their reason for voting against the ordinance.

“Everyone on council is drawing a check. That check is coming from these people right here,” said Wells, pointing to the audience. “I don’t understand why we want to force something through when they don’t want it.”

Allbright added, “I’ve never seen a more consistent, unified message from my constituents and the citizens.”

Locals had spoken at previous council meetings objecting to the PUD. Among the concerns were the size of the area provided for the units, whether or not they were actually affordable, and possible traffic concerns.

Many of these concerns were expressed again at Thursday’s meeting. Among those was John Romer, a Timber Glen resident.

“As far as this PUD goes, we’re asking you to say ‘no’ on this vote,” said Romer. “Understanding that it’s not going to stop the development, but simply you’re recognizing the will of the people, this is a bad development, we do not support this as a city council under the current concept of how it works.”

Romer expressed he didn’t think the council should approve it and just let the developers “go do the work.”

Council president Matt Purkey advised after the vote the plan would go back to the planning commission for further discussion.

Reach John Hamilton at 937-728-6397

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