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More questions posed for developers in Antrim Township

July 14, 2006|by DON AINES

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - An application for a planned residential development with more than 900 homes was once again before the Antrim Township Board of Supervisors for a public hearing Thursday, this time designed to accommodate a mostly "active adult" population.

However, many of the same questions raised by the supervisors and residents when it was first introduced in November 2005 - its effect on traffic, utilities and taxes - were still being asked.

The tentative application for PRD approval was submitted by Buchanan Trail Creek Farm LLC of Mercersburg, Pa. The development would be built north of Pa. 16 on a 307-acre farm owned by Glen A. Miller west of Greencastle.

Unlike the November plan, which was later pulled by the developer, this one calls for about 75 percent of the homes to be for people older than 55. The earlier plan had a much smaller percentage of "active adult" units in its mixture of single- and multi-family homes and town houses.

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Supervisor James Byers questioned whether some of the areas within the development will be above the flood plain.

"We're clearly going to be above the 100-year ... flood plain elevation," said Todd Stager, an engineer for the developer.

Township solicitor John Lisko, however, said Stager based his conclusion on a request the developer plans to submit to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to revise the flood plain lines. Without that approval, "you're basically going to have to start the process all over again," Lisko said.

FEMA requires a plan that shows houses on lots before it will revise a flood plain map, Stager said.

Traffic engineer Craig Mellott said that an active adult community will generate about one-third the traffic of a traditional development, which would likely have more working couples and children.

The development would add about 350 vehicle trips to local roads during the peak morning traffic hour, Mellott said. Suggested road improvements include widening Pa. 16 for turn lanes at its entrance and a traffic signal, he said.

"I'm not a happy camper," said Mary Grimm, who lives across Pa. 16 from the proposed development. "I've heard a story that a traffic light is going to be right in front of my driveway."

Grimm also wanted answers about how construction might affect residential wells and whether widening the road would result in the loss of part of her front yard.

Resident Tony Rivellini asked how strictly the age limit would be enforced. Reselling homes after it is built could result in younger families with more children.

"If the homeowners association doesn't enforce it, where does the community stand?" he asked.

Bryan Salzmann, an attorney for the developer, said the developer usually has majority control of the homeowners association until a project nears completion.

The development will have a "significant impact" on roads, fire and rescue services, police protection and schools, said resident Page Etchison. It will also result in higher local taxes, he said.

Lisko suggested the township hold another hearing within 60 days and hire a hydrologist, planner and traffic engineer to examine the figures submitted by the developer.

"This is going to be a topic of discussion for many meetings to come," said Supervisor Scott Diffenderfer.

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