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Traffic study presented for housing proposal

March 07, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

WILLIAMSPORT

A company proposing to build 967 housing units near Williamsport gave the Washington County Planning Commission a traffic study Monday, one week before a public hearing on rezoning the land.

About a dozen copies of the study were left with the planning commission during a preliminary consultation on the project.

Commission member R. Ben Clopper said an immediate concern for the commission is "traffic, traffic, traffic."

Last year, Williamsport Ventures LLC proposed a 1,267-unit housing development south of Sterling Road, but withdrew the plan before the Washington County Commissioners could make a final decision on the zoning.

The company turned in a new plan in December. The number of housing units was cut to 967, but commercial development was added.

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Chief Planner Stephen Goodrich, who explained the proposal Monday, said it includes 97 units for senior citizens.

Williamsport Ventures LLC also has proposed an elementary school there.

On Monday, the planning commission and the county commissioners are scheduled to hold a joint public hearing on rezoning the land. It will be at 7 p.m. at the Washington County Courthouse.

The applicant wants the zone to change from agricultural to planned unit development, which allows a mix of uses, at a higher density.

Commission member George Anikis said the new design of the plan hasn't answered one of his main concerns.

"I still have a problem with where this traffic is going to go," he said, noting the stress that Bower Avenue might face.

"It's too large a complement of homes on the edge of your growth area," Anikis said.

Commission member James F. Kercheval said the school system currently can't handle an influx of new students in that area.

"You're looking at 150, 200 high school (students) and you've got a high school that's already full," he said.

Goodrich's report on the project says three of the four schools that would serve the development are over capacity.

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