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Hearings set for controversial Venue development in Hilltown may soon begin


The fate of a proposed residential development that’s triggered a host of concerns for some residents in Hilltown could soon be decided.

A hearing related to zoning issues on The Venue, a proposed age-restricted residential community, is scheduled for June 7 before the township board of supervisors. However, it will open and then immediately be continued as the developer reportedly needs more time to prepare, according to township officials.

Officials are eyeing a date of July 6 for a hearing before supervisors. The township's planning commission could also hold a hearing on the application on June 20.

Miami-based developer Lennar Construction aims to build The Venue – a proposed 174-unit 55-and-older community in the area of Swartley Road and Route 309 in Hilltown.

Plans on file with the township indicate the residential constructions would include 21 detached single-family dwellings with an average price of $599,000, 48 twin dwellings with an average price of $539,000, and 105 townhomes with an average price of $499,000.

Still, current zoning does not allow for the type of development Lennar envisions on acreage upon which it wants to build. As such, the developer needs zoning changes/relief from township supervisors as part of any progress it hopes to make on actually creating The Venue.

Certainly some locals hope that approval never comes.

A group called Hilltown Friends has been organizing a groundswell of resistance to the development, encouraging members and others in the community to implore supervisors to deny the zoning relief requested.

The group is concerned the development could cause road-clogging traffic, excessive stormwater runoff that leads to flooding, environmental hazards, intrusive lighting, the need to hire more police officers, and decreased property values for current residents who live near the development.

“The developers are attempting to have our township supervisors approve their rewritten version of our township ordinance that is specific to their proposed plan,” Hilltown Friends asserted in a recent communication. “This is the developers attempt to have commercial activity and development occur in the rural residential zoning. We can not allow this to happen as it will pave the way for others to do the same.”

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