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1,150-unit development plan reviewed in Pa.

October 27, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

QUINCY, Pa. - A conceptual plan for an 1,150-unit development of single-family homes and town houses on Knouse Fruitlands property that would require a water system and expansion of the township's sewage treatment plant was reviewed Wednesday by the Quincy Township Board of Supervisors.

Quillen Development Inc. of Lutherville, Md., submitted the sketch plan for the development, which would be built on 425 acres at the intersection of Creager and Mentzer Gap roads. The plan, which rivals the Penn National development for the number of housing units it would create in the township, is on land zoned for low-density residential, but J.P. Quillen Jr., said he is asking for a "village overlay district," to allow more homes to be built in a smaller area.

"A community like this is going to appeal to people who are commuting to Frederick or Hagerstown," Quillen said. Frederick County, Md., has adopted "almost draconian development controls" and Washington County has impact fees that are causing housing costs to increase rapidly, he said.

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Job growth continues in those areas, however, and the people who work there are looking for more affordable housing, he said. A town house in downtown Frederick can go for as much as $700,000, he said.

Quillen later said town houses in the development would likely range between $175,000 and $300,000, with single-family homes going for between $250,000 and $600,000.

"The idea is to create the feel of an old-time town, or an old-time village," Quillen told the supervisors. Houses with Victorian architectural features would be closer to the street with garages or parking areas situated behind.

The development would be "pedestrian-friendly" with sidewalks and walking trails, Quillen said. Other amenities include a large community center with an indoor pool, as well as an outdoor pool, tennis courts and other recreational facilities, he said.

"The big issue is water supply," said Quillen. "We would build and dedicate a water treatment facility" to serve the development and surrounding community, he said, noting the orchard already has good production wells on site.

Supervisor candidate Kerry Bumbaugh said he liked the plan, noting that it calls for higher density development, which preserves more open space on the property.

"You'd be required to build additional capacity at our sewer plant" to go forward, Supervisor Joseph Middour said. The plant has a current hydraulic capacity of 300,000 gallons a day, but a more critical factor is the system's ability to process actual sewage, he said.

Quillen said his company would develop the roads, water and sewer, and grade the land, which would then be sold to builders. His company works with national builders, such as Ryan Homes, on similar projects.

The project is similar to Mount Aetna, a development his company is working on in the Hagerstown area, Quillen said. He estimated it could take eight years or longer for all phases to be completed.

"We'll have to think about the village concept ... This is a big deal for Quincy Township," Middour said. "The water situation is a big incentive for us," he said.

"Actually, this is a new concept for the county," said Realtor Paul Gunder. The type of development proposed by Quillen is being encouraged by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, he said.

One resident said a development of this size would have a big impact on schools and taxes.

"This is the same pressure all communities in Southcentral Pennsylvania are experiencing," Middour said. The new homes will increase the tax base, but "overall, development does not pay for itself."

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