Townhouse development planned for Washington Twp.

April 25, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH

ROUZERVILLE, Pa. — A townhouse project planned for land near Walmart and Lowe’s could become the largest new development for Washington Township, Pa., since the economy stalled.

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency approved $2 million in funding and another $1 million in tax credits for the Woda Group LLC, according to a news release from the agency.

The developer of New Forge Crossing is seeking to create 60 townhouse units of various sizes and layouts, township planner Clint Rock said Monday.

The units will be for low- to moderate-income residents, Rock said.

The criteria for residency in the rental units will be income that is 60 percent or less of the area’s median income, according to Andrew Cohen, senior vice president of Woda Group.

“This is a really great example of a project where people can walk to work. They can walk to jobs, and they can walk to retail,” Cohen said, noting that schools and child care centers also are within walking distance.

Construction on the $11 million development on 11.5 acres could start in mid-September and be finished within a year, he said.

New home construction ground to a halt in the township when the economy worsened. Only 13 new living units in the township received permits in 2011.

Across Franklin County, 179 permits were issued in 2011, compared with 1,257 in 2006.

About 4,000 lots remain in limbo in various stages of Washington Township’s approval process, ranging from sketch plans to preliminary and final approval, officials said.

The proposal from Woda Group is in its earliest stages at the township level. The developer has not submitted formal land development plans for review, Rock said.

According to a sketch plan, residents would access the New Forge Crossing development from an existing access road that intersects with Washington Township Boulevard. The road divides the Lowe’s and Walmart parking lots in the Rouzerville Commons shopping center.

“There is some property over to Old Forge Road, but the current plan does not show vehicle access,” Rock said, pointing out that sidewalks would access a school bus stop there.

“There will be a pathway that will go up to Old Forge Road,” Cohen said.

Sidewalks will make the development walkable, and it will be well suited for a family that wants to limit its driving, Cohen said.

“We think this is a unique opportunity because it’s adjacent to retail,” he said.

Both Woda Group and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency reviewed the market for the units.

The units could appeal to families who lost a house or job in the down economy, Cohen said.

“For those folks, this could provide them an opportunity,” he said.

The Herald-Mail Articles