MIDDLETOWN — Town Council has scheduled a public hearing for 7 p.m. Monday on a proposed ordinance amendment that would allow Rural Area parcels of 6 to 16 acres to be subdivided into 2-acre lots.

Town Planning and Zoning Administrator Eric Bitner said at Monday night’s Town Council work session that an application for a town code amendment has been submitted by a Middletown family that wants to subdivide various rural properties it owns on Veterans Road. He said the three properties are 12.36 acres, 8 acres and 7.97 acres.

An existing town code requirement states that properties between 7 and 10 acres that are subdivided preserve 40% of the original parcel for rural land. The proposed ordinance amendment would remove the requirement to retain 40% of the base parcel.

Some Town Council members expressed concern that if the land is subdivided into smaller lots, it could lead to more houses being developed, which could be undesirable as there are already numerous homes being developed or planned for development in the town.

Also at the meeting, it was announced that Middletown Fire Chief Mark Dalton has stepped down from the Planning Commission.

“Chairman Dalton resigned because he’s been asked by the county to develop their master plan, when it comes to the Fire Department,” Mayor Charles Harbaugh IV said. “So this is going to be a long-term thing for him. But that’s his specialty, that’s what he loves. So we are sad to see him go. He’s a great chairman. But we understand. Our loss is the county’s gain.”

Dalton was appointed to the town’s Planning Commission in December 2017 and he became chairman in early 2019. Planning Commission Vice Chair Joan Roche will serve as the interim chairman until a permanent replacement for Dalton is agreed upon.

Two people have filed applications to fill the Planning Commission vacancy: pastor and nurse assistant Diane Newman-Frye and Gary Carper, a retired operations manager for a building supply business. The Planning Commission will review the applications later this month and make a recommendation to council, which will then select the new member at its regular meeting in May.

Attending the meeting at the Town Office were Mayor Charles Harbaugh IV and council members Shayla Rickard, Carolyn Aliff, Carole Snyder Jones, Jeff Pennington, Stephanie Mitchell and Scott Fink.

— Contact Josh Janney at jjanney@winchesterstar.com