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Ross Planning Commission to Hear Heartland Homes' Plans for Highland Country Club

The planning commission meets at 7 p.m. Thursday night at the Ross Municipal Center.

The Ross Township Planning Commission will consider Thursday night, for the first time, Heartland Homes' plans for the former Highland Country Club property.

Heartland hopes to create a 302-lot subdivision on the 117 acres of land bordered by Highland Avenue, Gass Road and Golf Drive. 

Tuesday, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Jeffrey Deller approved a plan to have Heartland Homes pay off a more than $2 million delinquent mortgage on the property held by Slovak Savings Bank of Brighton Heights and more than $90,000 in back taxes owed to Ross Township, Allegheny County, and the North Hills School District, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reported.

Heartland plans to build 120 luxury town-homes, ranging in price from $180,000 to $240,000, along Gass Road.

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An additional 132 single-family homes, ranging in price from $350,000 to $500,000 will be built on the remainder of the property.

Heartland's plans include two entrances along Highland Avenue, two more along Gass Road, and one along Golf Drive.

Ross Township Commissioner Gerald R. O'Brien estimated the 316 new homes and town-homes will add $90-million in taxable property to the township, resulting in an additional $270,000 a year in tax revenue, once the project is completed in about six years.

John Schalcosky, President of the Ross Township Historical Society who was present at the meeting when the plans were revealed on Oct. 29, said the development includes a generous amount of green space, and even a memorial park, named after the township's founding resident, Casper Reel. 

 near the 18th green of the property, and a grave marker will be relocated to the new park. Schalcosky said it's his belief the plans would change if any human remains are discovered during construction.

"There are plans to relocate the bones of the Reel's IF they are found," he said. "The only problem is that the spot where the marker is now is only a memorial. No one, including me, has 100% proof of the "exact" location unfortunately - it is lost to time."

Do you think the Heartland Homes' plans are good news for Ross Township? Share your thoughts in the comments box below

Check out some of today's other top stories here .

Computer Jim November 29, 2012 at 02:05 PM
I will be attending this meeting tonight as I live off of Gass Rd. I will have a couple of questions concerning this project. The bottom line is, if you go to the meeting and start complaining about this project it won't matter because they are going to do what they want to do anyway so stay home and don't waste your time attending this meeting. See you there.
Patricia & Ron SMith November 29, 2012 at 02:36 PM
The residents of Amherst Ave are very concerned re: the increased traffic along our street. We are already a racetrack cutoff for 279, Amherst is 2 way w/o a stop sign at Lehigh . We have many new children & pets on our street.Rush hours are very dangerous because no one slows down & they come at each other from both ends.PLEASE consider our safety.Added stop signs & making Amherst one way should be considered. Thank you Mr & Mrs Smith Amherst Ave
Matthew Bush November 29, 2012 at 03:43 PM
We live in West View, in what I have been told is called Wellington Heights. I wonder what impact and what benifit this will have on the residents of West View.
Carol K November 29, 2012 at 04:59 PM
My son and his family live near the intersection of Amherst and Lehigh, and I have long thought stop signs should be placed on Amherst in addition to the ones on Lehigh. Visibility is often poor in that spot; and with increased traffic, accidents might abound.
Sherri Walker November 29, 2012 at 05:40 PM
We, also, are residents on Amherst Ave. & have the same concerns as the Smiths'. We second their suggestions about Amherst becoming a one-way & adding a stop sign a Lehigh. Rod & Sherri Walker
John Schalcosky November 29, 2012 at 05:40 PM
The best benefit will be that the people who buy homes there will have to go out & buy things (furniture, groceries, entertainment, etc.) so that will help boost both West View & Ross Townships economy.
J Koehler November 29, 2012 at 05:49 PM
We have to ask for it or we won't receive it. The commission should ask for amenities being removed from the community to be replaced. This doesn't necessarily mean that some of the course remain (although I would love to see even a 9-hole par three course) perhaps we ask heartland to develop other portions of Ross/West View with public amenities: walking trails, dog park, basketball courts. At the minimum I ask the developer to get creative with a new proposal that isn't only residential. Comparison shop, don't walk into the dealership and buy the first car we see.
Kevin Y. November 29, 2012 at 09:22 PM
The traffic situation on Amherst is completely unrelated to the new development at the former Highland Country Club. And because the development is on the opposite side of Highland Avenue from Amherst it should have no effect on traffic there. There are no public amenities being removed from the community by Heartland. They bought a bankrupt private business which catered to the wealthy. For nearly its entire existence unless you had the money to buy a membership you couldn't golf, swim or eat at this private club. I suppose the relatively few people who lived within sight of the course enjoyed the view but that is hardly a public amenity. I don't recall anyone demanding Highland Country Club develop public parks etc. in Ross Township. As I see it Heartland is doing perfectly fine by Ross Township and West View. They are going to pay a local bank the $2 million dollars they lost when HCC went bankrupt. North Hills and Ross will get $90,000 in owed back taxes. And they will provide badly needed new housing in a very old housing market. The $90 million dollars in new taxable property will add a lot to the area. Unless you are a golfer there is little not to like...
Todd Rich November 30, 2012 at 03:41 AM
I live a few blocks from the golf course, loosing it is a tragedy for the area. 430 new homes means about 860+ new comuters and an unsafe,unsustainable amount of traffic. one thing for shure traffic is already a nightmare after completion it will bee a night mare of epic proportion at rush hours morning and evening.
Kevin Y. November 30, 2012 at 11:01 AM
I respectfully disagree with your dire traffic assessment. The current backups on Highland Ave at rush hour are mostly due to of all the northbound commuters heading to their homes further north of West View via Perry. It all starts at the light at Highland and Perry. The traffic into the new Heartland development should not have a significant contribution to that backup as they will all get off before reaching Perry. The traffic to the new development should be further broken up as there are two proposed entrances via Gass Rd and two more off Highland Ave. There will certainly be an increased volume of traffic on Highland Ave but realize that just twenty years ago there were 1200 more people living in West View than today and the traffic situation was not unmanageable...
Tina Kirchner November 30, 2012 at 01:42 PM
I live on Highland directly across from the current CC buildings and I am not looking forward to the dirt and mess that the impending construction will bring. The traffic at the Gass/Highland and Cornell/Highland intersections will be a nightmare without (and I hate to say it) traffic lights. They should also consider adding a sidewalk. I can't tell you how many times I've come around the bend to find a pedestrian walking on the Wellington side of the road. Scary.
Jeff Steiger November 30, 2012 at 05:49 PM
I don't understand how bringing new life to West View could possibly be a bad thing. I am a business owner in West View and I am looking forward to having new customers in the area. We need to look at the big picture. The country club isn't coming back, in fact it is an eye sore. The only dust we need to worry about is how West View is being left in the dust as other communities are expanding and updating. It's time for West View to stop being the place where there used to be an amusement park and start being a place where people want to live and shop. Maybe with a few hundred new higher end homes, the plaza can fill all of those empty spaces. But all I can see is that people are worried about traffic.
Computer Jim November 30, 2012 at 06:32 PM
I agree with Jeff, if you are going to have progress your going to have some more traffic. So what look at the big picture. Stop living in the stone age and welcome this new community. And as for Jeff thanks for telling it like it is. I dont know what your business is but I know its not easy for a small business owner. Maybe, just maybe instead of a empty pizza hut or a empty shoe store, this new community could put some new business in their. Such as a new restaurant. Im sure you all know we need a restaurant in this local area.
J Koehler November 30, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Most of the traffic concerns are people hitting the panic button. Will the traffic be worse? Likely it will be, but it is bad now. Let the traffic studies be completed and presented to the community, then the comments about increased traffic will at least be educated conjecture. The issue I see with the developer's plan is that it is the easy way out. It is the same old McMansion development that never was forward thinking when it was born decades ago. It's all about the dollar for the developer's. I understand that, maybe it should be that way. However it takes a real vision to create something special. All due respect to Steven Victor and his 30+ years of experience, the proposed development is stale and will never be considered a destination. A little vision/foresight from the Ross Commission to "encourage" the developer to come back with version 2.0 that gets creative.
J Koehler November 30, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Here is what I say to Limerick, perform your due diligence when you make a purchase. The working class does not or should not feel sympathy for you because their was a hornets nest of creditors seeking retribution from J&J. Furthermore don't mask your ultimate goal of making money by re-stating that all creditors will be paid in full. The bankruptcy court dictates that more than you do. If you really want to get the community on your side then do what you were asked several times last evening..."talk to the families in the neighborhood" if you do that and treat people compassion then you will likely get most of what you want.
Mike H November 30, 2012 at 08:48 PM
What would be great is if they could keep the clubhouse reopen the restaurant youd have instant customers
Computer Jim November 30, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Only if it is a good restaurant Mike. Plenty of parking. hahaha
HB December 01, 2012 at 02:55 PM
I live on Amherst Avenue, too with a child and pets. It would NOT solve the speeding to make our street one way. How about a couple of speed bumps? I dislike them immensely, but it would slow down the 'racetrack' cutoff from the congested Highland Avenue during rush hour.
Patricia & Ron SMith December 01, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Regarding the speed bumps to slow down the traffic That is another solution At least everyone is thinking about the problems Progress can be obtained w/o causing havoc Maybe the developers can come up with another plan for the CC It is an eyesore
Richard December 01, 2012 at 05:47 PM
WE NEED SPEED BUMPS ON McKNIGHT ROAD
Computer Jim December 01, 2012 at 08:52 PM
We need restaurants on Mcknight rd
Scott Baret December 02, 2012 at 01:09 AM
We need more variety of everything in Ross, especially restaurants, and fewer drug stores, banks, and Giant Eagle-owned properties!

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