Middletown residents clash over proposed shopping center

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Middletown residents are in disagreement over whether to allow the construction of a commercial shopping center in town.

Some residents attended a meeting Wednesday night to confront the developer who wants to build the center. They says that the center will be much too big. 

“It’s going to ruin the character of the town,” says resident Mary Locke. “We’re very noted for having little crime in Middletown and I think that will change with that development.

The proposed 34,000-square-foot shopping center has been dubbed “Village 35” and will be located on mostly farmland.

“They want to cut down 4,000 trees with this project and realign that historic scenic designated roadway on King Highway. That’s completely unacceptable,” says Monica Manning, a member of Minding Middletown, an organization that hopes to stop the project.

National Realty Development Corporation President John Orrico presented the latest plan to the township’s planning board in a public hearing. The plan includes upscale retailers, restaurants, a movie theater and a Wegman’s food market. Orrico was not available to comment on this story.

“Our group, Minding Middletown, does not feel there’s enough open space,” Manning says.

Residents say that the developer has not met with them to discuss the project.  Residents say that the project will cause traffic issues, overcrowding and environmental problems.

The residents also say that they won’t want to lose the quaint charm of their small town.

“We’re not against development. We want the right development in Middletown,” says one resident.

The Middletown Council will need to vote on the project. Several more public meetings are expected to be held.

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