City council is set to vote Monday night on a controversial proposal to annex a property north of Newark and build a small housing development there.

Max Walton, a land-use attorney who often does work for the city, is proposing to build 10 single-family homes on 4.5 acres that his family owns and would be annexed into the city. Access to the neighborhood would be off Possum Hollow Road, and the neighborhood would back up to Paper Mill Road.

Two dilapidated old houses on the property were recently demolished, and a third will be knocked down if the project is approved. The Walton family also owns a horse farm on Paper Mill Road, across the street from the development site. The family plans to seek annexation of the farm at a later date.

In order for the proposal to be considered, city council must first designate the land as a “planning area” in the comprehensive development plan. The comp plan currently lists several areas in which the city is open to hearing annexation requests, but none include the area surrounding Possum Park Road and Paper Mill Road.

Earlier this year, the project was put on hold after council declined to approve the planning area, which at the time included Walton land plus several adjoining parcels. Since then, the planning department reduced the proposed planning area to just the property owned by the Waltons, and council agreed to reconsider the proposal.

Several residents in the area have spoken out against the project, arguing it would lead to increased traffic and that the density of the development would change the character of the neighborhood.

However, Walton plans to present council with a petition signed by 123 people in support of the project. Several live in the surrounding neighborhoods, while many others live elsewhere in and around Newark.

The meeting is set for 7 p.m. via online livestreaming software. To tune in, visit www.gotomeet.me/NewarkDECityCouncil/november232020 or call 646-749-3122 (access code: 335-646-493).

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