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Hamilton braces for buildup in next 20 years

April 06, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. Preliminary land development plans for hundreds of new homes have come before the Hamilton Township Board of Supervisors in recent weeks, though it could be decades before all are built.

"This whole area has the potential for being built up," Supervisor Mike Kessinger said last week, indicating an area north of U.S. 30 roughly defined by Crottlestown, Brechbill, Sollenberger, Edenville and Twin Bridge roads.

Two large developments, Whiskey Run Vista off Crottlestown Road with a proposed 640 lots and Majestic Ridge Estates off Sollenberger Road with a mixture of 253 single family homes, town houses and duplexes, fall within that area. Further east, along Crottlestown Road, is the 39-home Patterson Hill development.

"This is within our sewer area that we allowed under our Act 527 plan," Kessinger said. There are two sewage pumping stations within the area to handle future development, he said.

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Complete development of the area just West of Chambersburg, however, "is way down the road," said Supervisor Randall Negley. The developers of Whiskey Run Vista, he said, "are looking at a 20-year build-out. So this isn't going to happen overnight."

Public water for Whiskey Run Vista would come from five well sites within the development, Kessinger said. Plans have been submitted for two phases totaling about 200 lots at this point, he said.

The plans submitted by Kabro of Majestic Ridge LLC include replacing nine of the Majestic Ridge Golf Course's 18 holes with housing. Kessinger said Kabro also plans to build a new clubhouse to serve the development.

The pace of development will be dictated largely by the housing market, Negley said. Like other parts of the nation, new construction in the township has slowed.

Fifty permits for new homes valued at $6.4 million were issued in the township in 2000, a figure that rose steadily over the next three years before spiking to 148 permits valued at $19.8 million in 2004, according to township records. There was a rush by developers to get building permits that year before the stricter regulations of the newly-adopted Uniform Construction Code went into effect, he said.

The number of permits fell to 105 in 2005, to 84 in 2007 and 57 last year, according to the figures. While those numbers were falling, permits for additions and renovations of existing homes went from 116 in 2005 to 174 in 2006.

"We saw an influx of people who moved here from Maryland and worked in the Baltimore-D.C. area," Kessinger said of the past few years. People were moving here for the lower cost of living and commuting back to the city.

The price of gasoline rising to more than $3 a gallon could negatively affect that migration to this area, at least in the short run, Kessinger said.

"I think a lot of if it has to do with economics," Kessinger said.

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