A proposed plan for a residential development and rezoning along Second and Stafford Streets in Washington has nearby residents raising concerns about flooding.
The proposed development would be located on the property currently listed for sale by Ruth Stumpe Tofle, who, with five other family members, is selling the property that once belonged to the late Dorothy and Clarence Stumpe. Ruth’s great-grandfather, Frank Stumpe, was a brickmaker in Washington whom historians credit with making more than 10 million bricks.
Doug Willming, owner of Willming Excavating and Construction, is the developer for the proposed project.
Sal Maniaci, Washington’s community and economic development director, said the developer’s original plan called for building 18 brick townhomes on the 2.3-acre property. The townhomes, which would all be facing Second Street, would be built in two phases.
Willming said his intent is for the development to be high-end rental properties with rent being between $1,500 to $1,800 per month.
The development also would require a new alley and fire lane that would run to the rear of the units and connect to Stafford Street.
About 15 residents attended the planning and zoning commission meeting on Monday. Eight of them addressed the board.
Stumpe Tolfe wrote a letter to the commission in support of Willming’s proposed development, stating, “We are pleased with this proposal because it demonstrates vibrant economic growth and high-quality housing for Washington.” StumpeTolfe also described the proposed development as “aesthetically pleasing.”
“My great-grandfather, Frank Stumpe, is surely smiling to see the use of this brick development on his land,” she said.
Several other speakers at Monday night’s meeting raised concerns about flooding as the proposed development would be located in a 100-year floodplain.
The land currently has a drainage ditch that runs through it and connects to a 48-inch catch basin and stormwater pipe leading to the river. Willming is proposing extending the drainage pipe under the driveway and alley to the rear of the property where a new basin will be constructed, according to Maniaci.
The changes to the floodplain would require approval from FEMA for a Letter Map Amendment to be constructed and the Army Corps of Engineers also will have to review the proposal.
Maniaci said Willming’s plan to address the flooding was “adequate.”
Willming noted the proposed development needed to be amended as he plans to now add retaining walls to the property and a “moat-like” system along the south side of the building. He said this would mean there would be 17 two-story townhomes built instead of the original 18 three-story homes.
Juliana Benedict, a resident who lives nearby, said she was concerned about density and that the project was being rushed.
“I feel like we are only seeing part of the picture,” Benedict said, adding that the redevelopment of the old International Shoe Factory site could cause concerns for traffic congestion along Second Street.
Homeowner Marsha Riggs voiced concerns about how the proposed development would impact her property, specifically her 157-year-old pecan tree.
Riggs lives in a historic home that was built in the 1850s and wanted the “integrity” of her property to not be compromised. “I think they (the development) would be an asset,” Riggs said. “I just want them to respect my property.”
City Attorney Mark Piontek recommended the board only vote on rezoning the area, not the proposed development.
“I know he has it all in his head but no one can review that in black and white and affix that to an ordinance,” Piontek said. “I think there may be enough information on whether you can rezone it, but I don’t think you have enough information that meets code requirements to vote or not to approve the preliminary development.”
The commission voted unanimously to make the recommendation that the site be rezoned from R-2, two-family overlay to PD-R, planned residential, which will be brought to city council next week.
Willming will bring his updated development plan back to the planning and zoning commission at its meeting next month.