When Raymond Caldwell, Jr. bought a 6.2-acre parcel of land at 173 Cemetery Lane in Ross Township, the land was no more than a rocky hillside.
Several years and tons of earth later, the lot is now seven acres of mostly flat land, ready for development.
Caldwell will ask the Ross Township Planning Commission on Thursday to approve his plans to rezone the area from commercial to residential, and subdivide the land into six lots for 40-45 townhouses.
Caldwell began filling in the hillside more than two years ago, using excavated dirt from the Sheetz convenience store at the intersection of Cemetery Lane and Babcock Boulevard, the now-under-construction Getgo at the corner or Brown's Lane and McKnight Road, and several other locations.
"I can't begin to guess how many tons of earth are up there now," Caldwell said.
The caravan of dump trucks on Cemetery Lane from the Sheetz location alone lasted for months.
Caldwell is negotiating with a potential developer, but he isn't ready to reveal much more right now.
He said he is certain that the massive hillside is stable.
"We got the grade permit in 2008 and followed it to the letter," he said. "At one point, we had four engineers working at the site."
Caldwell is also confident he has picked a good location for housing.
"I was born in Ross Township and went to North Hills High School," he said. "I thought this was the right location for new housing, especially with the good accessibility to I-279."