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Horse farm surveyed for development

January 08, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

ROUZERVILLE, Pa. -- Surveying for subdivision continues at a farm that has been eyed for development by major retailers and restaurants like Target, Martin's Food Market and Olive Garden.

The Realtor for the property off Washington Township Boulevard across from Applebee's restaurant promised a quality shopping center no matter who ends up spearheading the project. Among the proposals on the table is one modeled off an old English city.

"This is going to be the site," Realtor Tim Light said.

Surveyors are identifying the corners of the Anthony Bittner property in anticipation of aerial photography. A subdivision application could be before the Washington Township (Pa.) Planning Commission as early as February, according to Light.

RVG Management & Development Co. of Wormleysburg, Pa., had a contract on the farm, but withdrew it in the summer of 2008. Light said three other developers and several businesses remain interested in the property.

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Bittner might hold on to some or all of the lots to develop himself, Light said.

"It's such an attractive location. You can get there from Interstate 81, from Interstate 70, of course," Light said. It also remains one of the few large commercial tracts available near U.S. 15, the redeveloped Fort Ritchie, and Gettysburg, Pa., he said.

Light said that neither he nor Bittner are deterred by the slumping economy. In fact, he projected that the vast majority of construction within Washington Township Center could be completed within 18 to 24 months of approvals being received.

"We're going to try to give as much of the work as possible to local contractors. We know we have a lot of good contractors and a lot of talented craftsmen," Light said.

"We have a really good, ready, willing and able work force," he added.

Seven parcels are planned, with the largest designed as 17.9 acres to host two big box stores. The remaining parcels are all four acres or smaller.

"Five of these parcels ... are on Washington Township Boulevard. They'll be the ones that go quickly because people want to be on that boulevard," Light said.

Washington Township Boulevard is a $16.7 million relief route being built north of Waynesboro. Its only opened section borders the farm, which is across from the Rouzerville Commons Shopping Center's Wal-Mart and Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar.

The Antietam Watershed Association has been contacted regarding a walkway along the stream that crosses the farm, Light said.

Smaller lots might be created in the future by dividing the already planned ones, according to Light.

"It's much easier to divide a parcel rather than combine smaller ones," he said.

As the development process continues, Light said he hopes to gather community feedback about businesses desired for the area. That, he said, could be helpful when approaching potential businesses and explaining they would fit well.

"We want to bring a real high-end, first-class center to the township, but we don't want it to be too expensive," Light said.

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