Woods Services withdraws Middletown zoning application for ‘affordable housing’ – thereporteronline

A nonprofit that had hoped to build 42 “affordable housing units” in Middletown Township — a project rejected by many local residents — has abandoned its project idea.

“They have withdrawn their application to the Board of Zoning Hearings, which means they are no longer seeking the variances needed to begin construction of the apartments,” said Jim Ennis, director of building and zoning, Middletown. “For us, that basically means it’s a dead project.”

The plan, which called for the affordable units to be part of an apartment complex on Maple Avenue near Route 413, was rejected by Woods Services, an organization that oversees 22,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities, brain injuries and/or mental health issues.

The withdrawn project may resurface one day, Ennis said.

“Maybe in a year we’ll see another hearing application, but who knows,” he said. “They contacted us recently and their lawyer said they are no longer in the business and have withdrawn the application. This means that no hearing in this case will be scheduled indefinitely, if at all.”

Woods Services spokeswoman Cheryl Kaufman said the plan, called Maple View, was to be on Beechwood NeuroRehap’s property.

“After careful consideration and discussion, Woods Services has decided to defer its application for variances to the Town of Middletown Zoning Board for the construction of Maple View Affordable Housing,” said Kaufman, who added that the company will continue to expand services through its network of Pennsylvania Providers and New- Jersey.

The plan, first proposed by Woods Services last winter, needed zoning to clear three points: The apartment building would have to be built in an R-1 residential zone for single-family housing; it has a density of 2.75 units per acre, where the maximum is 2 per acre, and the building is 54 feet high, where the maximum is 35 feet.

About 200 people protested the proposal at an April meeting of the city’s zoning board, many of whom also signed a petition opposing it.

“I think Woods saw that even if they got suspended, there might be an appeal,” Ennis said. “Even if they got the variances, they would still have to go through the full land development process.”

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