Published: January 9, 2019

Closer look sought about Adams Township plans



Caleb HarshbergerEagle Staff Writer

ADAMS TWP — Officials are taking a closer look at plans for several housing developments in the township as residents and officials raised concerns about the impact those developments would have on traffic.

Supervisors Linda Lees and Russ Ford spoke for the need of increased scrutiny after hearing from residents at a Monday night hearing on the plans for Amherst Village phase 5 PRD, featuring 23 lots, and Amherst Village phases 6, 7 and 8 conditional use housing developments.

The string of developments, if approved, will be situated between Mars Evans City Road and Forsythe Road in the township and will connect the two roads via the plans.

Dozens of residents raised concerns about the impact the influx of homes will have on traffic, while representatives for the developer pointed to a traffic survey that showed no need for infrastructure improvements to accommodate the plans.

“I can't fathom the traffic study is accurate,” Lees said. “I just can't fathom traffic not being affected by all these homes.”

Ford agreed and said that until they can talk with the township traffic engineer who concurred with the study, he would remain concerned.

“I think we need to get more information,” he said.

The study was conducted by an engineering firm hired by the developer and a firm hired by the township concurred with its findings.

Board President Thomas Franceschina explained that the study only looks at the impact on intersections.

This is because of a state law that says developers can only be held responsible for impacts on those intersections, he said.

Franceschina added that the developer will pay impact fees that the township can use to improve township infrastructure as needed.

Ford asked for more information about how the study was conducted and why it came to those conclusions.

Neither engineering firm was present at the meeting, as is typically the case, township manager Gary Peaco explained.

Dozens of residents also voiced concerns about the impact of the plan.

Others raised concerns about neighboring communities using the roads as a shortcut, once the plans connect Forsyth and Mars-Evans City Roads.

Representatives from the developer explained that the plans met density and open space requirements, met the guidelines of a traffic study and were in accordance with the borough codes.

Residents also raised concerns about a nearby airport and the potential for a catastrophe.

Representatives for the developer said they have been in touch with the Federal Aviation Administration and that they have met the requirements for construction.

Franceschina said they should provide a letter from the Federal Aviation Administration at the next meeting to be sure.

Residents also asked about speed bumps, altering the plan to change entrances and exits and even redrawing the design to no longer connect the plans.

Following the speakers, Franceschina explained that the role of the board was not to decide what they wanted to happen, but simply to follow the ordinances and encourage the best developments that could be built within the codes.

“They have a right to develop their property. It's the board's job to try and work within the requirements,” he said. “If they meet the ordinance, we are required to (approve) it.”

He said there were some unanswered questions and that the board would work to better understand what was going on at the housing development sites.

The board will continue the hearing at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 30 following a hearing on the plans for Meadowpoint PRD.

That hearing will only be concerned with the traffic impact study and answering the questions raised by residents and the board of supervisors.