Former golf course closer to becoming homes for seniors
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.
An aerial view of the former Locust Valley Golf Course in Coopersburg.