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Hilltown residents concerned over development of 194 apartments in senior living complex


Hilltown residents are concerned about a proposed 194-unit residential community for people ages 55 and older that a local business owner wants to build on Swartley Road.

Wally Rosenthal, owner of 309 Office Furniture & Design, has previously presented a sketch plan that calls for constructing the development on 65 acres that lie on Swartley Road, according to township officials.

The acreage, which encompasses several tax parcels, is near Swartley Road’s intersection with Route 309, behind Rosenthal’s furniture business.

“All Hilltown residents should be concerned with what is being proposed, and how it will adversely impact our community, including the cost to residents,” Hilltown Friends, a group of locals opposed to the plan, said in a note to the Herald.

The group is worried about the plan to build cluster housing and potentially add an additional traffic signal to Route 309 at Swartley Road. Residents also are concerned that the would-be developer could acquire additional nearby land, upon which additional housing units could be proposed.

Increased traffic congestion, erosion of open space, detraction of quality of life, and cost to the township to maintain roads and protect what would be a new, large community have Hilltown Friends believing the development isn’t in the best interest of their municipality.

“The integrity of our small town and open areas are being attacked by the greed of the development companies, causing detrimental effects and cost,” the group said in its note.

Township officials have previously said that a conditional use ordinance related to zoning would be needed because some of the property isn’t zoned for the density of development that Rosenthal envisions.

Hilltown’s planning commission, a board that evaluates development applications within the township, is scheduled to review the proposed 194-unit development plan at its Jan. 21 meeting, 7:30 p.m., at the municipal building at 13 West Creamery Road, Hilltown. The public can attend.

After a planning commission review, the plan could proceed to formal hearings before the board of supervisors, the three-person entity that governs the municipality locally. The supervisors would have the say on whether or not the development – and any zoning relief – is ultimately granted or denied. The public would be able to attend the hearings.