Council introduces rezoning ordinance

City Council has introduced an ordinance to rezone land near Beckman Drive from single- to multi-family residential, so Custom Homes & Develop­ment can build two or three single-story duplexes.

After an intervention by Mayor Matt Pacifico, a neighbor’s opposition to the rezoning seems to have eased.

“I think we have addressed the (neighbor’s) concerns,” Custom principal Drew Swope told council.

Swope wants to build the duplexes along a driveway that connects Beckman Drive with Penn Circle, behind the house of Cindy Osewalt, who is OK with duplexes, but who fears Swope would build townhouses, if council rezones the ground.

She doesn’t want to see townhouses there, she has indicated.

At the meeting, Osewalt asked for a formal deed restriction against them being built there.

Afterward, Swope said he plans to refer her request to his lawyer and comply with the lawyer’s advice.

Regardless, his intention is to “do exactly what we said” — that is, to build duplexes, he stated.

There is a demand for “single-story living” — with a garage — among older people who have moved out of the houses in which they raised their families, he said.

“A step before they go into some sort of senior living,” he said.

Swope is currently developing 18 similar units in Roaring Spring, he said.

Swope intends to plant a “vegetative buffer” behind the duplexes to shield them from the Osewalt property, he said.

He must comply with stormwater control requirements enforced by the city, he said, referring to another issue of concern to Osewalt.

“I (didn’t) want to go forward without placating the neighbors,” he said after the meeting.

Swope plans to build the duplexes on ground to the east of a private drive that connects Beckman Drive to Penn Circle.

Across the driveway, he plans to build four townhouses on land currently zoned multi-family.

He previously built six condominium units just south of the parcel on which he plans to build the duplexes.

After he built those condos, the city rezoned the parcel single-family, in a general rezoning project.

The current rezoning proposal before council would change that designation back to multi-family, to bring the condominium lot back into compliance with zoning law.

Swope also previously built five townhouses along Beckman Drive, just south of the four townhouses he plans to build.

And he previously finished construction on five townhouses south of Beck­man Drive on South Terrace Drive that had been started by another developer who ran into financial trouble and suspended work.

The proposed ordinance came to council upon being recommended by the city Planning Commission.

It will return to the Planning Commission in August or September for a final recommendation, then come back to council in September for a public hearing and adoption, according to Community Development Director Lee Slusser.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.