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Vote looms on proposed 194-unit development

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The Hilltown Board of Supervisors is scheduled to make a crucial ruling that could open the door for a large-scale development to be built in the township. The supervisors will meet Monday, Aug. 24, in the municipal building.
 
Supervisors are set to vote on a proposed rezoning measure that could set the stage for would-be developer Lennar Construction to proceed with an envisioned 194-unit age-restricted development in the area of Swartley Road and Route 309.
 
Local businessman Wally Rosenthal, who owns Route 309 Furniture & Design, owns the land upon which the development would be built.
 
Even if supervisors grant the zoning relief, that doesn’t mean Lennar would have the ability to just build. The developer would then have to go through a potentially lengthy land development approval process with the township, which would involve public hearings before supervisors where residents can raise concerns and question plans.
 
Still, locals that oppose the development don’t want the potential project to ever get that far.
For months, they’ve been urging township officials to reject the rezoning measure. Hilltown Friends, a community group that opposes the development, is encouraging residents who are worried about the scale and possible impacts of the proposed project to show up in force to the supervisors meeting prior to 6 p.m. to make their voices heard.
 
“We need everyone in the township to come out to the supervisors’ meeting to oppose this plan that will put five-times the housing that’s currently allowed on this site,” Hilltown Friends said in a statement. “Everyone should send emails to the township supervisors stating that they oppose this development plan and ask that supervisors vote ‘no.’”
 
Hilltown Friends are concerned that the development will cause congestion through significant increased traffic, saddle the township with more infrastructure and policing costs, generate additional potentially problematic runoff water issues, “change the rural landscape of the township,” and more.
Supervisors were initially slated to vote on the rezoning measure in July, but the vote was tabled. Each of the three supervisors expressed a different view about how to proceed on the measure during the July meeting.
 
Supervisor Caleb Torrice opposed granting the requested zoning relief.
 
Supervisor Jim Groff felt zoning relief should be granted, but wanted to reduce the number of units allowed. Supervisor Jack McIlhinney favored granting the zoning relief that Lennar was asking for.
Without obtaining any zoning relief from Hilltown supervisors, Lennar could build a maximum of 36 homes, officials have said.


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