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Tonight's housing development hearing postponed

By Randy Kraft, WFMZ.com Reporter, RKraft@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 06:28:55 AM CST
Updated On: Sep 17 2013 03:46:51 PM CDT
NORTH WHITEHALL TOWNSHIP, Pa. -

Tonight's scheduled conditional use hearing on the proposed Strawberry Farms development in North Whitehall Township is being postponed.

Township supervisors briefly will meet as scheduled at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Schnecksville Fire Company in Schnecksville, but only to act on a request by the developers for a time extension on the conditional use hearing until January.

Because the meeting previously was continued and scheduled, official action must be taken to comply with state Municipal Planning Code requirements, according to the township. Supervisors will take action only on the continuance request.

Township manager Jeff Bartlett anticipates a meeting lasting only a few minutes, although he expects residents who oppose the project still will attend.

Bartlett said if supervisors eventually do grant the project conditional use approval after that conditional use hearing is held, the proposal still has to go back to the township planning commission for land development review. He said the proposal does not yet have even preliminary approval.

The township manager said the planning commission tabled action on the development in August because changes must be made to the plans that may involve variances.

The developers propose an age 55-and-older housing development on more than 23 acres at the intersection of Overlook and Clearview roads, near the village of Laurys Station.

Three different proposals are being considered by developers, explained Bartlett, with the number of homes ranging from 84 to 108.

He said nearby residents oppose the loss of open space and farmland, although he said many of their homes were built on former farmland 25 years ago, and because some kind of small on-site sewage treatment plant will have to be built for the development.