CRANBERRY TWP — After more than 15 years of work and discussion, earth could soon be moved and initial plans approved for a major mixed-use development on the township's largest tract of undeveloped land.
The plan for the Meeder property at Route 19 and Rochester Road was recommended for approval by the township Planning Advisory Commission last week. It will now be considered by township supervisors at the end of the month and beginning of September.
The original idea for a town center area was spawned in the early 2000s as part of the Brush Creek Smart Growth Plan, which laid out developments in the Rochester Road corridor. A zoning change paved the way for the expansion in 2008, according to Butler Eagle reports. At the time, the land — which features a distinctive red barn — was still being used for farming, and owners at the time had no plans for development.
Over the next decade a few developers looked at the land for different types of use, according to Dan Santoro, assistant township manager. Ultimately, no plans were submitted to the township.
That changed earlier this year, when plans for the mixed-use development were submitted by Charter Homes & Neighborhoods of Lancaster, via Rochester Road Investment Co.
According to Jordan Holloway, township land development specialist, the preliminary plan calls for 637 residential units, as well as retail shops and restaurants. He said the project would be presented and built in 11 phases.
The housing units would be a mix of single family homes, townhouses, loft-style spaces and 276 apartments. The retail space, meanwhile, would be centered along Rochester Road as well as back in the site in the first floor spaces below the living areas.
The plan also includes what Holloway called a “different concept” that is based on European design. That area of the project would use pavers or stamped concrete instead of asphalt, as well as different streetscape elements from the rest of the plan.
The 57.3-acre parcel is between Rochester, Unionville and Ogle View roads, according to township records. The area includes the Meeder farm barn and home, which Holloway said will be restored in their current locations.
On Thursday, supervisors approved a grading application from Charter Homes for 34.3 acres of the property.
Officials said this will give developers a chance to install the plan's roads before asphalt plants close for the season. Officials with Charter Homes could not be reached Friday.
“Having road pavement in place before winter will make Phase I construction on the site cleaner and avoid unnecessary delay,” the agenda item states. “However, the grading permit is for earthmoving only; it does not allow for the installation of any sewer, water or any other utility lines until the project receives final approval.”
Holloway said the move allows the developer to “get a running head start” if and when final approval for Phase 1 is granted.
PRD changes approved
Also Thursday, supervisors approved revisions to requirements for PRDs to address streetscape enhancements, street lighting and sidewalk green space with benches in the developments. The revisions were made after some of the requirements were found to be redundant.
A planned residential district was also given approval Thursday. The Goehring Road PRD will see 67 single-family homes built on a 37.4-acre property on Goehring Road next to North Boundary Park. Also approved was a development by Nuvo Self Storage that would see a three-story, 90,430-square-foot miniwarehouse constructed at 20709 Route 19.