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Traffic Concerns Delay Vote on Heartland Home Plan for Highland Country Club

Ross commissioners will take public comment before taking a final vote.

Ross Township Commissioners Tuesday delayed a vote until March 18 on a preliminary plan for 170 townhouses and 134 single-family homes to be built by Heartland Homes on the grounds of the former Highland Country Club.

When the proposal first came before the Ross Township Planning commission on Nov. 29, many in the crowd of 150-200 people voiced their opposition, saying they feared an increase in traffic on already busy Highland Avenue and Gass Road. 

At Tuesday's meeting, attorney Jonathan Kamin, who represents the developer, Limerick Land Partners, acknowledged that their own traffic studies indicated the new housing plan would negatively impact traffic at two key intersections: Highland Avenue and Gass Road, and Highland and Cornell Avenues. 

The author of the traffic study, Ray Caruso, told the commissioners the best solution would the installation of traffic lights, however neither intersection currently meets the criteria set by PennDOT, which owns both Highland Avenue and Gass Road.

"PennDOT is the one who decides the standards," said Kamin. "If PennDOT said to us, they would want a light to be put in, we would be happy to put in a light."

Kamin also said PennDOT would be unwilling to order new traffic signals based on projected traffic from a housing development which has not yet been built, much less approved.

"The solution that we have offered is that we would make a contribution to pay towards going ahead and paying for a light when the light is finally needed," he said.

In the meantime, traffic engineers from PennDOT, the developer, and Ross Township will meet to see what, if anything, can be done now.

"If there is anything that can be done, it certainly benefits us and the township," said Kamin. "That's why we are agreeing to extend the deadline and have that meeting and see if three heads can be put together to make some suggestions." 

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cm February 20, 2013 at 11:59 PM
If I hit the lottery I planned to purchase and make a park.
Matthew C Harvey February 21, 2013 at 01:38 AM
I choose to live in this area. I raised my kids here. We love living in our Gas Road area. The Highland Country Club is gone for good. Ross Township Board of Commissioners need to get the two lights installed. Politics can make things happen. I don't like to see it but, the North Hills School District and Ross Township will reap tax dollars.
Sherry Dalton February 21, 2013 at 10:25 AM
You could just imagine these lights in the middle of winter on the hills. What a nightmare they will be. The single family homes planned for this development are pricey. Chck out Venango Trails in Marshall Township. They are building the townshomes there that I bet will be similar. Everyone should take a good look at them.
AnonymousNorthHills February 21, 2013 at 12:44 PM
Highland Ave has a "Dangerous Intersection" sign on it so that should tell you just how busy that road way is during the day. Also the Highland Ave is falling apart just look at the area about Bronx Field. Nice big pot hole!! I took a walk down Highland Ave and tried to not break my neck on the icy sidewalks and get a nice breeze from all the traffic. I found it funny watching someone pull of Cornell they were so scared of the oncoming traffic they peeled tire to get out. I do think Highland Ave will be worse and Gas Road if this gets developed. Minnock still has open lots on Schlag Ct. which is also known as Sangree Farms and used to be a farm. Being the economy the way it is and the area it is in I just do not think it is a good fit for the area. See comments from the article: http://northhills.patch.com/articles/ross-commissioners-table-vote-on-heartland-homes-plan-for-former-highland-cc I think the developers who think of these grand schemes should LIVE in the area they want to screw up and not just throw the grenade and leave everyone else to deal with any issues that may or may not arise.
Laura February 27, 2013 at 01:24 PM
The West View area has been in a steady decline over the last two decades. People move away, people die and the population has shrunk. The West View shopping plaza used to be a hub of activity and now it's half deserted and in disrepair. This development will bring people and families to West View. Families that will spend money in West View and boost the economy of that area. Of course traffic is a concern but that shouldn't be the reason we keep a development that is going to do more good than bad from coming in. Yes it would have been nice for the Country Club to stay in business and serve the community, but that didn't happen. The best solution is the one that will allow West View to be a livable, thriving community for the next 100 years.

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