JACKSON TWP — The township planning commission Wednesday night recommended for tentative approval a 270- dwelling, 130-acre residential development with plans to connect to a regional trail network.
Seneca Trails, off Gudekunst Road, previously received tentative approval in 2017.
It came back Wednesday with a new developer and plans to meet conditions imposed on it by the commission.
Gregg Heindemann, president of Sandy Hill Development, said the plan is to build the community in four phases, starting Phase 1 next October. Under current plans, 240 single-family homes and 30 townhouses would be constructed.
In addition, he said, 69 acres of permanently dedicated open space would be included, featuring active open spaces like parklets. Seneca Trails would also include trails, which the township hopes would connect to the ongoing Commodore Perry Regional Trail network, a network of sidewalks and trails connecting Cranberry, Adams and Jackson townships in Butler County, as well as Allegheny County's Marshall and Pine townships.
The trails in the development would not stretch to Route 19, but Jackson Township Manager Chris Rearick said he is optimistic the Williams family, which owns land between the development site and the state highway, will be interested in an easement to permit the trail.
“The Williamses did seem interested in the concept (of the trail network), particularly if they were looking at developing some of the land along Route 19,” Rearick said.
Much of the hourlong meeting was spent discussing how the development would affect traffic in the area.
Josh Haydo, senior traffic engineer with David E. Wooster and Associates, estimated the 270 dwellings would create an additional 2,600 vehicle trips each day along Gudekunst, Route 19 and nearby roads. He added nearby intersections would not see a decrease in level of service, and that there were no identifiable causes of vehicle crashes on roads expected to see an impact from the new housing.
Ed Komoroski, commission member, asked why the intersection of Lutz Road and Route 19 was not examined as part of the impact study. Haydo said the township's traffic engineer did not charge him with looking at that intersection and said it would likely see a lower impact than other intersections.
“We expect the vast majority of vehicles to use the (traffic) lights,” he added. Nearby traffic lights are at the intersections of Route 19 and Gudekunst Road and Route 19 and Zehner School Road.
Conditions for the development's approval include plans for connectivity of the Commodore Perry trail network.