New resort-style houses under construction on Bradley Circle near Chaplin Community Park have Ronda Carper questioning if she should continue to make the area her home.
“They look like they’re part of the Marriott,” Carper said recently about three 75-foot-tall buildings that tower above other nearby structures and stand nearly as tall as the Marriott’s SurfWatch hotel behind them. “They block the sun.”
Mark Davidson, another resident, said his biggest concerns are parking and safety. It is illegal to park on the narrow street, and the garages for the new buildings likely won’t be enough parking for the number of people who will rent the structures, he said.
“(The developers) said it was going to be consistent with what’s here,” Davidson said. “And that’s obviously not the case.”
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Bradley Circle used to be zoned residential, but that was changed to a resort development in 2014, according to Nicole Dixon, the town’s development review administrator. At Tuesday’s Town Council meeting, Charles Cousins, town director of community development, said a proposed amendment to rezone the area as residential is expected to be brought to the Planning Commission in July.
Residents from another area on the island’s south end packed Tuesday’s meeting to protest what some have labeled as a new “mini-hotel” in the Heron Street neighborhood.
Christopher Abreu, the owner of two of the three resort-style houses on Bradley Circle, said Thursday there has been support for the development. The houses are large, he said, because he needed to build homes big enough for his family to stay in part of the year. The homes likely will be rented when his family is not using them, he said.
“The homes are our personal homes,” said Abreu, a Connecticut resident. “We intend to be embedded in the community.”
Abreu said he is thinking about helping to start a homeowners’ association for the area. Regarding concerns over parking, he said the garages are 70 feet long and could each fit three to five cars.
Dixon said that with the 2014 zoning change, the building height restriction then was 75 feet, adding, “When a site developer came in and used those allowances, neighbors were up in arms.”
Dixon said last year, the height restriction on new buildings was changed to 45 feet. She said the issue now is not necessarily height limits but that residents do not want any future resort development.
Carper said she doesn’t want to see any more resort-style houses in her neighborhood, and that residents want the area to be zoned residential again.
On Tuesday, Bradley Circle resident Tamara Becker urged the Town Council to move up the rezoning vote so the matter could be resolved more quickly.
If the amendment is recommended by the Planning Commission, it will require two readings from the Town Council before it takes effect, Dixon said. If approved, the current resort-style houses could remain, but no new developments that violate the town’s residential zoning standards could be built, she said.