Proposed development in Peters Township draws ire

Published May 29, 2014 at 1:35 pm (Updated May 29, 2014 at 1:35 pm)

A proposed residential development on 24 acres currently owned by Forest Lawn Garden cemetery has raised the ire of property owners living on nearby Spring Street in Peters Township. The preliminary plans call for 29 lots on the 24 acres at the rear of the cemetery that fronts on Washington Road just north of Donaldsons Crossroads.

As proposed, the only access to the development would be through the currently dead end Spring Street, just off Pleasant Avenue, with an emergency access easement through the cemetery property, said Grant Shiring, land planner for PVE Sheffler. Shiring is familiar with the township as he served on a temporary basis as the municipality’s land use planner during the extensive comprehensive plan process just completed.

The residential development would have a large turn around in the middle with a cul-de-sac at the farthest end, Shiring told Peters Township Council during a meeting May 27.

A stream on the property would be protected, he said. The front portion of the development would have 50-foot setbacks from the street, with the remaining lots near the cul-de-sac having 35-foot setbacks.

Shiring said during construction, trucks would travel through the cemetery property and not along Spring Street. However, with only one access and a cul-de-sac, Shiring said the Peters Township School District would not permit buses to pick up students in the development.

Several residents told council of their opposition to the proposed development, with some vowing to “fight it as strongly as we can.”

If built, the houses are expected to sell for $450,000 and up.

When several of the property owners on Spring Street said they were not notified of the meetings, first at the township’s planning commission and May 27 before council, Ed Zuk, township planning director, said no formal application has been presented and when and if it is, all property owners within 600 feet of the proposed development would receive notice. As the May 27 presentation was categorized as a pre-conference, council did not vote on any proposals.

Councilman Frank Arcuri said he was concerned about the 35-foot setbacks, there being only one public access route through Spring Street, the school district not permitting buses in the development, and a steep grade of 10 percent near the entrance.

“I’m not in favor of the plan as proposed,” Arcuri said.

Shiring was also the representative for United Growth of San Rafael, Calif., on a proposal for a 4,000-square-foot retail development on the corner of Washington Road and the southern entrance to Old Oak Road. Plans call for a single tenant. The development would need a variance as the area is currently zoned Commercial-4, which does not permit such a plan.

Councilman David Ball said it is difficult to turn from Old Oak Road on to Washington Road now, and councilwoman Monica Merrell said she was concerned about traffic and the need for deliveries in a relatively small parcel.

No action was taken.

In other action May 27, council:

• Approved a $250,000 grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection to purchase a cardboard compactor and wheeled recycling carts for residents’ use when automated recycling begins in 2015.

• Awarded a 3-year contract to eLoop for free recycling of electronic items not permitted for curbside pick up.

• Approved a tent sale for Levin Furniture, 3664 Washington Road, June 4-16, and approved a fundraiser for Howard Hanna Real Estate June 18, to benefit the Children’s Free Care Fund.

• Approved a 5-year loan with PNC Equipment Finance at an interest rate of 2.47 percent with annual payments of $96,770 to purchase a new fire truck to be delivered later this year.

• Announced West Penn Power Co. and First Energy Corp. will be trimming trees along transmission lines on Sugar Camp Road, in Peterswood Park, on Simmons Farm and along Hidden Valley Road to Cecil Township. Council also discussed the affects of Ash Bore Disease and damage to trees in the township. No decision was reached.

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