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Developer has plans for land off Pa. 16

June 12, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - A Frederick, Md., developer is planning a 126-unit single-family home development in the borough's north end, a project that if built in stages will have little impact on classroom space in the Tuscarora School District, Superintendent William Konzal said Wednesday.

Donald E. Owens, president of Catoctin Development Inc., said his company bought 60 acres behind St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Mission church off Pa. 16. Owens' company will build the roads and infrastructure, including public water and sewer hookups, but other builders will build the homes.

Owens said he often works with Ryan Homes on his projects.

Other Catoctin Development housing projects in the area include the Hamptons of Brightwood off Mount Aetna Road in Washington County. More than half of the project's 119 homes already are built, Owens said. About 40 of the 72 lots in Northpointe, a development in Middletown, Md., have homes, he said.

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Owens said he has been in business for about 15 years and has built many projects.

This is his first venture into Franklin County. He said he came across the Mercersburg and Greencastle, Pa., areas when he was identifying new markets.

"I like the area," Owens said. "Development restrictions in Frederick County make it virtually impossible to get anything new approved."

He said he is negotiating a contract for a 100-home development in the Greencastle, Pa., area, but would not elaborate.

The new Mercersburg development will be called Findley Park.

Owens said he is working his way through the permit process with the borough.

Thelma Ambrose, borough manager for Mercersburg, said Catoctin Development's project is about 40 percent through the process. Owens has the street layout done and is in the final stages of getting his water and sewer agreements, Ambrose said.

While Owens will have permission to build the entire project at once if he chooses, Ambrose said Owens plans to build it in phases according to demand. He will pay up front to reserve the water and sewer service that the project will need, she said.

Konzal said Findley Park is the first major housing development in the Tuscarora School District.

He said he met with Owens and the district's transportation manager to learn how much, if any, impact it would have on the school system.

Owens estimates that each home will house an average of 2.5 people.

"I don't see any immediate problem if it's built in phases," Konzal said. "We can take in more students on any grade level, but there's no room for a whole grade in any of the buildings."

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