Blue Ridge Golf Club rezoned to allow residences, stores to be built
Updated Sep 19, 2017; Posted Sep 19, 2017
By Travis Kellartkellar@pennlive.com
Blue Ridge Golf Club has been rezoned, paving the way for the property to see a multitude of new uses.
The Lower Paxton Township Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 in favor to rezone the plot of land on Linglestown Road from agricultural to institutional and residential retirement.
Supervisors Robin Lindsey and William Seeds Sr. cast the dissenting votes.
The plan, presented to township commissioners in February, calls for the closing of the 132-acre golf course and redeveloping the property into four distinct sections - commercial, residential, assisted living and recreational.
Approximately 30 residents attended the meeting. Township supervisors enabled a few to add new comments about the proposal, noting that the past few meetings have included numerous comments from the public. Those who did speak were against the move.
After the vote, resident Cheryl Wieder said she thought that the supervisors failed to consider the safety and well-being of the residents who will eventually live the development.
Wieder argued that the apartments, which are planned to be in a five-story high rise, are not going to be suitable to senior residents.
"Most of the elderly go to places where there are golf courses and things they can do for recreation, and they're taking the best golf course around here," Wieder said.
Lindsey named a number of concerns she had, including that the plan does not include a skill care facility.
"If you have a loved one that has been in assisted care or has been in the hospital, they give you, a lot of times, 24 to 36 hours to find skill care facilities," she said.
A common concern of residents has been traffic congestion along Linglestown Road. Supervisor Bill Hawk argued that seniors, in his 20 years in the healthcare field, do not drive early in the morning. As a result, he did not think that traffic would be an issue.
Hawk's comments drew audible objections from the audience, prompting Chairman Bill Hornung to call the meeting to order.
Lindsey also disagreed with Hawk's comments.
"Seniors are in and out more in a day from the house than what the average person that goes to work and comes home," she said. "So I'm going to disagree with that."
Hornung spoke highly of the plan, and that it would add approximately $2 million in taxable revenue to the township, adding that the township would only see roughly 6 percent. He also said the plan would fill a need that the township currently has - assisted living.
"Lower Paxton Township needs assisted living desperately," Hornung said. "There's none available presently in Lower Paxton Township."
As part of the motion, supervisors also accepted a restrictive covenant which guarantees the land will be utilized as planned by the developers, Triple Crown Corporation.
Charlie Courtney, an attorney for Triple Crown Corporation, said the covenant was a result of comments and feedback from both township residents and supervisors.
"One of the comments was 'how do we know you're going to do that plan', which is always the case," he said.
The restrictive covenant requires three things - a minimum of 75 percent of the overall land area be used for residential purposes, no more that 370 dwelling units be constructed, and general consistency with the plans submitted by developers Triple Crown Corporation.
Triple Crown CEO Mark DiSanto said the planning process is the next step, which will take several months to complete before submitting a plan to the township.
DiSanto said the overall design has not changed since the project was first presented to the township.
"That's substantially what we presented originally," he said.
Officials said in February that the owner of the golf course had signed an agreement with Signature Senior Living to build a 93-bed assisted living and memory care housing facility.
The development will also include four apartment buildings, townhouses, and single-family homes.
The commercial section of the development could include a number of businesses along Linglestown Road. Plans included turning the existing clubhouse into a restaurant with a distillery.
Another component is a 30-acre park near Dover Road.
Plans were briefly put on hold in July when the request to amend the zoning ordinance was dropped from a township commissioner meeting.