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Sketch plan calls for 171-unit development in Hilltown


A developer is interested in building a 171-unit age-restricted housing development that would consist of townhouses, twins and single-family homes in Hilltown.

Representatives for Miami, Fla.-headquartered Lennar Construction appeared before the Hilltown Board of Supervisors on Monday to discuss a sketch plan for the development contemplated for the area of Swartley Road and Route 309.

Carrie Nase-Poust, a locally-based attorney representing Lennar, said the sketch plan calls for 52 twin homes, 57 townhouses and 62 single-family homes on parcels that total 68 acres. Nase-Poust said upwards of 60 percent of the site would remain open space.

The development would be for people ages 55 and older.

Still, part of the land the would-be community would be built on falls in a rural residential zoning classification, which doesn’t permit the type of development envisioned. As such, Lennar would need to earn a zoning change from Hilltown, in addition to land development approval, to construct the development that could be dubbed Venue.

According to Lennar representative Sam Carlo, home prices could range from $350,000 for certain twins to the upper $400,000s for certain single-family homes. The sketch plan calls for an approximately 10,000-square-foot clubhouse and community pool, along with tennis courts and bocce ball. Internal roads would be private, with a homeowners association overseeing things like outdoor property maintenance.

Lennar has satellite offices in Hamilton, N.J., and Media, Delaware County, that focus on projects in the region, Carlo said.

With parking for 459 vehicles mentioned as part of the sketch plan, Hilltown Supervisor Ken Bennington said he is concerned about the traffic increase the development could generate in the area.

A couple of residents who spoke Monday expressed similar concerns about traffic back-up and potential road hazards. “You’re creating an extremely dangerous situation,” said one man, referencing what he described as a “blind curve” near a potential development entrance shown on the sketch plan.

There was also worry about possible environmental impact from the development and potential related issues tied to what one woman said was a former junkyard at the site.

Professionals for Lennar emphasized that this was only a sketch plan. Particulars on things like traffic management, road improvements, stormwater runoff controls and related issues would be addressed in formal land development plans the developer would submit to the township for approval.

It was unclear Monday when Lennar might come back with official development plans. Those plans would be available for public review. Hearings on the plans would be open to the public.

Township Solicitor Stephen Harris noted that the township would not grant Lennar a zoning change in advance of land development approval. Both approvals, if they were to occur, would have to happen on the same night.