For­mer golf course closer to be­com­ing homes for se­niors

The Morning Call - - LOCAL/NATION - By Kevin Duffy Kevin Duffy is a free­lance writer for The Morn­ing Call.

Con­ver­sion of the Lo­cust Val­ley Golf Course into an age­qual­i­fied com­mu­nity by Tra­di­tions of Amer­ica won ap­proval from the Up­per Sau­con Town­ship Plan­ning Com­mis­sion.

The board on Tues­day voted 5-1 to rec­om­mend ap­proval to the Board of Su­per­vi­sors, who will have the fi­nal say.

Tra­di­tions of Amer­ica will likely go be­fore the su­per­vi­sors in early Oc­to­ber, town­ship so­lic­i­tor Thomas Dinkelacke­r said.

Orig­i­nally pro­posed for more than 200 homes, the con­cept has been pared down to now in­clude 125 sin­gle-fam­ily homes on 100 acres in Up­per Sau­con’s age­qual­i­fied com­mu­nity zone, said David Bid­di­son, a part­ner with TOA.

Another 11 homes on 30 acres are planned in neigh­bor­ing Spring­field Town­ship, Bucks County.

The con­cept cen­ters around clus­ter­ing all of the homes “at the top” of the prop­erty in or­der to main­tain as much of the ru­ral char­ac­ter of the land as pos­si­ble, Bid­di­son said.

Plan­ner Ge­orge Bloeser Jr., who cast the lone vote against, didn’t see it that way.

He said the 17 vari­ances granted by the town­ship are ex­ces­sive, and that the de­vel­oper’s pro­posal to donate 2.75 acres of open space to the town­ship per dwelling unit, down from the orig­i­nal pro­posal of 8.61 acres, is a prob­lem.

“It seems to me that there has been a lot more take than give,” he said.

TOA re­ceived pre­lim­i­nary plan ap­proval in Au­gust 2018 and could be­gin build­ing homes and mar­ket­ing prop­er­ties right now, Dinkelacke­r said.

He said the de­vel­oper was en­ti­tled to a rec­om­men­da­tion for fi­nal plan ap­proval be­cause the pro­posal is in ac­cor­dance with the pre­lim­i­nary plan and com­plies with the un­der­ly­ing zon­ing.

He rec­om­mended the town­ship care­fully con­sider TOA’s of­fer of ded­i­ca­tion for 7 acres, which could po­ten­tially serve as a mu­nic­i­pal well, which would first have to go through thor­ough test­ing be­fore it could be used as such.

Dan Koziel, of North Fifth Street, said he wor­ried about stormwa­ter woes be­ing in­creased by the de­vel­op­ment.

“When it rains, it’s ab­so­lutely a swamp,” he said.

Ex­ca­va­tion, he said, “will cre­ate a lot of prob­lems to peo­ple down the hill.”

The town­ship failed its res­i­dents by not pre­serv­ing the golf course as open space, said Jim LaPorta, of Mount Lau­rel Drive.

Dinkelacke­r, by way of re­but­tal, pointed out that a bal­lot ref­er­en­dum ask­ing res­i­dents if they’d be in fa­vor of con­tribut­ing a quar­ter mill of ad­di­tional earned in­come tax for that pur­pose failed at the polls.

Bloeser, in re­sponse, said the bal­lot ques­tion wasn’t prop­erly pre­sented.

“Peo­ple didn’t un­der­stand it,” he said.

MORN­ING CALL FILE PHOTO

An aerial view of the for­mer Lo­cust Val­ley Golf Course in Coop­ers­burg.

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