Following diligent review and questions from the Falls Township Board of Supervisors, the governing body granted conditional use approval for an age-restricted community to be situated on a portion of the former St. Joseph the Worker parcel.
The 18.17-acre property, which is located at 9172 New Falls Road, is zoned institutional and could be developed as a school, worship site, or hospital. The board’s conditional use approval allows for “some control as a community,” according to Chairman Bob Harvie. Conditional use provides for certain development types when specific conditions are met.
As proposed, the development would consist of 62 townhouses, a 2-story apartment building with 24 units, as well as 14 flats, which the developer described as a 1-story unit stacked on top of another unit. Housing would be limited to individuals aged 55 and older. Townhouses would have garages and an additional 132 parking spaces, as well as overflow parking, would be included throughout the community.
Developer John McGrath told the board that flats would be owned by occupants and be approximately 1,200 square feet with two bedrooms and two full bathrooms. Apartments would be rented and would have either have one bedroom, one bedroom and a den, or two bedrooms.
The development, which will be called St Josephs Court, would be run by an association. Residents would be charged monthly fees to cover snow plowing, landscaping, trash removal, maintenance and road repairs.
In short, the new development would not pose any financial impacts to the township or existing taxpayers.
“The residents themselves will be responsible for the plowing and the upkeep,” Harvie said of the proposed development and the people who will eventually live there.
Supervisor Jeff Boraski said he was happy to see the project continue, but voiced concerns over traffic problems associated with the development. “I live there,” Boraski said. “There’s no way that intersection can handle one more car.” Thomas Heckler, an attorney for McGrath Homes, said his engineer would relay Boraski’s comments to PennDOT and acknowledged that road upgrades would be needed.
Chairman Harvie told the applicant that he was concerned about the creek running behind the property and past flooding issues. Project engineer Mark Havers said he is working with Falls Township’s engineer, Jim Sullivan, to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff. Currently there is no stormwater management system in place, he said.
Plans also call for the community to include a clubhouse to be used for social events and gatherings.
The development would have two primary entrances and a third entryway to be used only by emergency vehicles, officials said. Heckler assured the board that the aesthetically pleasing brick community accented with black wrought iron pillars would be a welcome addition.
“Everyone can feel good about the way this is going to look,” Heckler said. “We think it’s a good fit for the community.”
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