Neighbors Fighting Planned Apartment Complex

SCRANTON, Pa. -- Bob Morris' family built his home on Wales Street in Scranton before World War I.

"This is the family homestead here. My grandfather was born and raised here," he said.

Morris showed Newswatch 16 his north Scranton property. It's lined with woods, possibly the largest piece of undeveloped land in the city.

But that could soon change.

A development company based out of Allentown purchased a 19-acre plot of the north Scranton woods which align with Interstate 81. Their plan is to build several apartment buildings, some of which would line up to Bob Morris' property.

The company, NEPA Realty Ventures is asking the Scranton Zoning Board for a variance to build the apartment complex. The city's Zoning Officer, Jack Sweeney, tells Newswatch 16 that the proposed project has received a lot of opposition from north Scranton residents.

"I hope it gets shot down, or you know, if they wanted to come back with something realistic, but as of now, we don't want it here," Morris added.

Sweeney showed Newswatch 16 the plans NEPA Realty Ventures submitted to the city's zoning board. They show 10 three-story apartment buildings making up about 250 units that the company says will be geared toward middle-income families & senior citizens.

Neighbors worry what the influx of residents would do to their rural life within the city limits.

"Quiet, peaceful. It feels like we're in the country when we're really not, and this can't happen," said Karen Ritter, who also lives on Wales Street.

"It will change the entire complex of this area, of all of north Scranton. It really will," Morris said.

It's likely that the Scranton Zoning Board will hold off on making a vote until its August meeting. Even if the board approves the zoning variance, the development company would then have to seek approval from the Scranton Planning Commission.


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