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Group eyes 2,900-unit development in rural Pa. township

June 10, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Nick Hodges, a member of an investment group hoping to buy the Whitetail Golf Resort and the 731 acres the property includes, said he brought a preliminary sketch for up to 2,900 single-family and multifamily vacation and yearround homes to the Montgomery Township Planning Commission.

Hodges, 30, and his father, Robert Hodges, own BJC Custom Homes & framing of Mercersburg. They and Donald Huber of Seattle formed W.L.L.P., an investment partnership, and have an option to buy the golf course and land around it on Blairs Valley Road from the Hummelstown, Pa., General Authority. The selling price has not been disclosed.

They have until mid-September to decide if they want to go through with the deal on the 250-acre golf course only, Nick Hodges said Thursday. The rest of the land is a separate deal, he said.

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The course, which has had financial problems since it opened in 2001, has had several owners and would-be owners. It was closed in December and reopened in May when Hodges' partnership took out its option.

Since then, business has been good, Hodges said. "We've had an average of 230 rounds on Sundays, 200 on Saturdays and more than 150 weekdays since it reopened," he said.

The proposed housing project would include commercial development, Nick Hodges said. It would be served by on-site utilities.

"It's very preliminary," he said. "The nature of the project can change. We don't want the community to be concerned about something that may not happen."

There is no zoning in Montgomery Township, Supervisor Dean Metcalfe said Thursday.

Metcalfe said while there is potential for such a major housing development, "it is not carved in stone." Other developers have talked about big developments that never were built, he said.

The township's population was 4,949 in the 2000 Census. It is now estimated at 5,200, Metcalfe said.

New developments are coming in, he said. Valley Creek Estates has lots for 49 single-family homes. Sales began in July and only 10 lots remain unsold, a spokeswoman there said Thursday.

The homes are selling for $210,000 to $310,000, she said.

Another 60 or so homes have been or are being built in other developments, Metcalfe said.

Another sign that the township is growing is the construction of a new township office building and garage adjacent to the existing one at 11364 Fort Loudon Road.

The supervisors currently meet in a 10-foot-by-14-foot office to the side of the building's five truck bays. The new $850,000 complex will have a larger office and six bays.

The township plans to hire its first full-time secretary, Metcalfe said.

The township's budget is $1 million, $400,000 of which comes from fees from the Mountain View Reclamation landfill on Pa. 16, he said.

The township is bordered on the south by Maryland, on the east by Antrim Township, on the north by Peters Township and the Borough of Mercersburg and on the west by Warren Township.

It has 77 miles of road plus another 43 miles of state roads that cross it.

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