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Sprawling development approved in township

June 06, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Ten commercial lots, 137 single-family houses and 84 town houses received final approval for development on Monday more than a year after plans were first submitted for former Carl Diller farm.

The developers of Antietam Commons will now be saddled with creating nearly $4 million worth of infrastructure, including the cost of extending North Welty Road through the development behind the Wayne Heights Mall.

WAM Enterprises Inc. of Lemoyne, Pa., which is the commercial developer for Antietam Commons, is also on the verge of officially submitting land development plans for a 138-unit residential development that will then extend North Welty Road even farther until it meets Washington Township Boulevard.

The Rachuba Group of Eldersburg, Md., partnered to develop the residential area of Antietam Commons.

William Aiello, a partner in WAM Enterprises, said he has been told the single-family houses will start between $300,000 and $350,000, with the town houses $200,000 to $250,000.

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Twenty-four acres west of North Welty Road have been donated to Washington Township, Pa., for use by the Antietam Watershed Association.

"Improvements will be made to this area on a longer term with cooperation from the Antietam Watershed Association. Some of the stuff they want to do is to improve the edges of the creek (with) riparian buffers and some plantings ... to help enhance the quality of the water in the Antietam," Township Manager Mike Christopher said.

Final approval of the development came from the Washington Township Supervisors after their solicitor and the developers hammered out a deal that calls for the developers to pay $300,000 in traffic impact fees.

"There was a difference of opinions as to the determination of the impact fees for this site. ... It wasn't clear as to how impact fees should be assessed. The developer obviously felt there shouldn't be any assessment. The township felt there should be full assessment," Christopher said.

Each of the commercial lots will carry a $15,000 fee, while the residential lots will be assessed $680 per unit when each land use permit is obtained.

"Being the good partners that we're trying to be, we worked out a deal that both sides can live with in order to move forward with this project," Christopher said.

The 121-acre property became the first major project for WAM Enterprises, Aiello said.

"Our goal was to work with municipalities and communities to get the job done," Aiello said.

The development was scaled back from its original 178 single-family houses to 164 and finally 137 as residents and township supervisors expressed concerns about building on flood plains, he said.

Now, WAM Enterprises is watching its development on the 78-acre Pifer farm also be scaled back. It has gone from 174 single-family houses to 138 now, although the partnership hopes to add four to five more houses there, Aiello said.

"We're working with the township relative to their Conservation by Design wishes. ... It takes into consideration the natural features of the land - steep slopes, creeks, flood plains - and takes them out of consideration," he said.

WAM Enterprises specializes in retail shopping centers, he said.

"We initially came here to do the Super Wal-Mart and Lowe's deal. WAM Enterprises ran into a traffic problem, (and) Wal-Mart went down the street," he said.

Christopher called the plan "unique" in that it features a sidewalk along the east side of North Welty Road that eventually ties to Washington Township Boulevard. The development also features a flood plain that will maintained by the homeowners association to provide an open space for recreation.

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