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Ross Commissioner: Heartland Homes Plan for Highland Country Club is Great News

The development, when complete, is expected to add $90-million worth of taxable property to the township.

Count Ross Township Commissioner Gerald R. O'Brien among those who are happy with Heartland Homes' plans for the former Highland Country Club.

"I think it's great," O'Brien said. "It will be good for everyone in the township because it increases the tax base."

O'Brien estimates that 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.

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

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

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

Commissioner Lana A. Mazur, whose district includes the Highland Country Club property, is taking a wait and see approach.

"I need to talk to the residents, I imagine they will have a lot of questions, as do I," she said. "I haven't seen the plans yet, I'm very curious to see how all of this is going to look."

Mazur said she would be notifying all of her constituents when the issue comes before the Ross Planning commission.

"I want to make sure everyone knows when these plans are submitted," she said. "This is a big development, it's going to change the characteristics of that neighborhood."

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John Schalcosky, President of the Ross Township Historical Society who was present at the meeting when the plans were revealed Monday, 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

If you see news happening in Ross or West View, e-mail editor Richard Cook: at Richard.Cook@Patch.com

janice buck October 31, 2012 at 12:47 PM
I think it is a good idea to build homes but the big houses thay want to build don't fit into the homes already there no person around here can afford that expensive of a home and if you can afford that price you don't belong here.
Bonnie Kuchnicki October 31, 2012 at 11:09 PM
I agree Janice! All I have been reading is about money, money, money. Not once have I heard of a benefit to the residents that already live there. Did they even contemplate keeping any of the property the way it is now if for nothing but respect for those that have loved the golf course for many years. Makes me sick to hear about all of the things that the Ross Township Board, Heartland homes, and others see as a benefit when they don't have to live back there with increased traffic and congestion. Approximately 600 more cars (2 per household) is going to make our little piece of land a mess. Goes to show, money and big business talks, little man has no say so.
Susan Kremmel November 01, 2012 at 01:18 AM
I live in West View right across from Highland Country club and I am very concerned how this will affect traffic and that there are no benefits for West View residents. We are going to have to put up with the noise and dirt from the construction plus the increase in traffic. It is just not right for West View residents to go through this for nothing.
Sick of Heartland Homes November 01, 2012 at 01:24 AM
That's right, west view gets nothing but the headaches
Mary Sweeney November 01, 2012 at 01:51 AM
I'm with you ladies. Not only the increase to traffic and congestion but what about our property taxes? Those homes are going to drive prices and our property taxes up to the point that those of us that live here won't be able to afford to stay. I've lived in this neighborhood for almost 20 years and this is beyond ridiculous. How about a community center and pool that's off the main road so the kids can play and not get run over?
HM November 01, 2012 at 03:12 AM
Short term, this is a nuisance. But long term this is an opportunity for our community. Building these homes will bring new money to pump our local economy, brings desirable homeowners with families to the area, and will only make our homes more valuable! A large portion of home buyers are looking to build their homes. These soon-to-be-families are choosing to build in our neighboring areas--Avonworth, NA, Pine Richland. Finally, North Hills will have some property to offer those home buyers! Other communities are battling to keep less desirable plans in their neighborhoods,...we should be happy they are bringing desirable plans in our area!!! I wish there was funding for a community center and pool,....but most areas are closing theirs because there is a lack of money for the maintenance and low memberships! Embrace the change!!!
Kevin Y. November 01, 2012 at 01:07 PM
The attitudes and complaints being registered on the Patch amaze me. Wealthy people "don't belong here". Wow. A nearby new development might increase the value of my home. Horrors. They should build low income housing or yet another senior citizen development. Hey, that might lower my property value, yea! I loved the golf course for years so now it is my right to enjoy it forever. The new owners must accomodate my wishes for the property and put in a public community center and pool. Were the same complaints issued to the exclusive Highland Country Club? Construction will create noise and dust. Well, then, let's never build anything... Ross/West View have seen a slow but sure population loss over the past several decades. West View is down over 1000 since 1990. Ross is down 2400 since 1990. North Hills graduating classes have dropped from over 900 seniors to under 400 seniors. The area can easily handle 800-1000 new residents, it's not going to be a crushing traffic jam. The new development can go a long way in stemming the relentless population loss while adding badly needed new housing to area. There's very little not to like...
Susan L. McGrath November 01, 2012 at 02:28 PM
I am 100% for development of the property, to bring in more residents, revenue, etc. BUT if they are going to build, how about throwing in at least SOME well-built, attractive single-family homes starting at at least $100K less than what they're planning? I think that would work better for this area, and they'd sell like hotcakes, I'd bet. Sure seems like no one builds "regular guy" homes anymore. I believe those who can afford the $350K+ homes certainly do belong here, and hey, sure, I wish I were one of 'em. However, I don't believe they particularly WANT to be here, so close to the city.
Laura Forsmark November 01, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Highland CC is in Ross Twp. West View Boro surrounds this acreage. O'Brien said it will be good for everyone in the (Ross) township. What about West View? WV will have to bear the blunt of a big mess and reap nothing. WV has not even been invited to a meting regarding all of this. Don't leave town Edgar.
SP November 08, 2012 at 11:28 PM
I am all for a new housing plan. But.. you are building homes that are way over-priced for the area. Why does no one want to build middle class homes anymore? Oh cause of the tax revenue generated.. But, lets not forget Commissioners that you will need to add another school to handle all the new families. Oh wait... that will cost money.. So the 270,000 a year in tax revenue, what will that really be? Oh and you will probably will need to add some more police officers to deal with the crime in the new plan, because there will be crime when word gets out that these are people who have money. So, add all the expense of hiring more police officers, more teachers, and an updated road. Traffic on highland avenue backs up during rush hour. Something will need done. Please think before you make decisions that will impact a lot of people.
Matt Newmeyer November 30, 2012 at 05:00 AM
i live across the street from highland on the ross side my whole life, ive lost cats and dogs to speeding cars, one dog right infront of my handycaped sister. the traffic is allready an issue.. Ive enjoyed the sunrise over the hill for years, these plans show cookie cutter homes seen built by the same company all over avonworth, there ugly, more imortantly the plans have townhomes directly infront of my home that are even more disgusting. NOT to mention the fact that the ground has been contaminated for years, its a FACT. Isnt population increasing a problem for the economy? why destroy the land any more than it has.
William Artzberger December 12, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Bill Artzberger I have been a Ross Twp. resident since 1951 (61 yrs.). Our present home is on Golf Drive. (since 1957) We (and I speak for my neighbors on Petunia Ave. and Carnation Ave.) are deeply concerned about traffic that would be generated by the new proposed complex. The builder plans 53 town houses and 302 homes. This could generate a possilbe 600 cars. This conceivably could generate 200 to 300 cars at rush-hour or other times day. Could our police and fire departments handle this? What about school buses? At this point in time, Highland Ave. cannot comfortably handle its present traffic with stops at Highland and Perry Highway and it is worse at rush hour! Some homeowner's cars now park on Highland Ave., and some driveways exit on Highland Ave. and Gass Rd. The traffic from 279 and Bellevue must be added to the intersection of Highland and Gass. Accidents are frequent there at this point in time, particularly at rush hour! The small businesses along Perry Highway in West View proper suffer now from lack of parking space (as do the West View shopping center businesses). Will the West View fire Dept. be able to service West View proper as well as Highland Ave. and the new housing complex? What effect will the proposed development have on the school in West View? And finally, why should West View and Ross Twp. residents and taxpayers take the inconvenience of excessive population and traffic to subsidize a development for a developer's profit???

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