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Ashmore residents protest apartments

Rezoning request rescheduled for March 18

About 30 residents of Ashmore Avenue and the surrounding neighborhood showed up to the Feb. 25 Red Bank Commission meeting to protest a developer’s request to rezone 1918 and 1924 Ashmore Ave. from low- to high-density residential.

The residents had not been informed that the hearing for the request had been postponed until March 18 at the request of the developer.

City Manager Randall Smith said the developer can ask to postpone his rezoning request hearing for as long as he wants, but City Attorney Arnold Stulce added that the commission does not have to consent to the request for delay.

Without the developer present, the residents submitted a petition with 125 names protesting the 300-unit apartment complex the developer plans to build on the property if his rezoning request is approved by the city.

“We’re very concerned about the rezoning request and more apartments in Red Bank in general,” said Ashmore Avenue resident Becky Browder, adding that the city currently has 38 apartment complexes. “We do not feel it is a good use of the property there.”

She said Ashmore is not built to handle the approximately 600 cars that would be added to the roadway if the apartments were constructed.

James A. Webster, a 19-year resident of Ashmore, agreed that the road does not need anymore traffic.

“We need to enjoy the quality of life we have enjoyed until now,” he said.

Ashmore resident Amy Suggs said she has environmental concerns about the development. The street has no sewer service and currently runs on a septic system.

“To add another community of 300 apartments is just going to add more problems,” she said.

Ridgewood Avenue resident Stephanie Williams described the area as quiet, peaceful and family-friendly and said 300 apartments would destroy that atmosphere. She added that running and cycling groups often use the road.

“It’s not just a street but a recreational route,” she said.

Mack Henry, who lives on Midvale Avenue, said the Midvale/Ashmore area is Red Bank’s oldest community and it should be left alone.

Celia Hill has lived on Ashmore 76 years and said she wants it to remain the type of place where one can go out and work in their yard safely, and have young people walk by and offer to help.

“We used to not lock our doors,” she said.