I am concerned about proposed development in the Mixed Office designation. This development is at I-95 and Route 543 in Creswell.
In 2005, zoning code legislation was introduced to add Mixed Office (MO) to the zoning code. The code says the purpose of MO is to promote major economic development opportunities, including corporate offices, research and development facilities and high-end tech services which create significant job opportunities and investment benefits. Due to excellent access and high visibility of the MO district, the intention of the MO legislation is to promote high quality uses with high quality amenities. This area may also include retail to service the employment center up to 25 percent of the total property.
At the first community input meeting in Aug 2007, citizens were concerned about this MO concept. It is outside the envelope but would have water and sewer service. A concern was voiced that the retail could be built first and thus it would constitute a "mall." We were afraid the office buildings would be second in importance and may not come at all. With Base Realignment And Closure (BRAC), we were assured the space was needed for office and research.
Lots of concerns were raised then, but none compares to the concerns I have about the latest 543/1-95 revision because I attended a community input meeting in April 2012 where this same important property was presented
We were told that because offices have been built on APG to accommodate BRAC there is no demand for offices now on this Mixed Office property. The owners decided they wanted a way to change the MO to other uses.
They told us they were asking to develop 14 of the 111 acres to "lodging houses." I of course assumed it meant hotels or a bed and breakfast but that is not the case. I was shocked to hear the developer intends to erect 386 units of 1,2 and 3 bedroom "lodgings" that look like apartment houses for transient workers. These lodgers will come to the area to complete projects, work, attend meetings, etc.
The whole concept was promoted as a very nice project that would be a benefit to all, however, I'm thinking about the impact on traffic and other services these apartments can have on Route 543, Creswell, Cullum and Goat Hill roads.
We asked about the other 97 acres and would they be coming back asking to develop this as they wish and the developer said it was a possibility.
This is about as far away from the original meaning of Mixed Office as possible.
The Mixed Office legislation was in no way intended to open the Development Envelope to housing. These so called lodging houses that look like apartments do not belong in the MO designation. MIXED OFFICE has been abused and does not reflect the intention of MO as stated in the current code.