The new owners of the Northway Mall cleared their first hurtle Monday night when the Ross Township Board of Commissioners voted 5-2 to approve the rezoning, from residential to commercial, the site of the former Northway Elementary School on Brown's Lane.
Commission Board President Grant Montgomery and commissioner Chris Eyster voted against the rezoning. Commissioners Lana Mazur and David Mikec were absent.
The vote came after several residents, who live nearby, expressed reservations about the plan.
Brian Lindner said he is concerned about the hustle and bustle a shopping center would bring to what had been an elementary school. "That's going to bring in shipping traffic, I don't know if there's going to be loading docks, but that will mean noise," he said. "There are children, the elderly, all types of people living in that community, I worry about what this development will do to that kind of area."
Robert Fenk, who lives in the Mews Townhomes off of Browns Lane, said he will probably move.
"Browns Lane is undoubtedly going to experience increased automobile traffic, and increased truck traffic that it doesn't have now," he said. "I had planned to remain in the Mews the rest of my life, that's not going to happen because I can see the handwriting on the wall."
Commissioner Pete Ferraro tried to assure those in the audience that their interests would be protected.
"When it comes time to work with Levey and Company, I think they have the intentions of doing what is also good for the community," he said. "I promise to work with them to ensure that they do exactly what the constituents are asking for as far as recommendations. I know that they can't guarantee that, but I can promise you that I will do my best to protect the integrity of the neighborhood."
Cemetery Lane Townhouses
The commissioners also approved rezoning to enable the construction of more than 42 townhouses along Cemetery Lane. The vote was 7-0.
The owner, Raymond Caldwell, Jr., told the planning commission at its Dec. 20 meeting that Ryan homes will be the builder, and the townhouses will cost in the neighborhood of $200,000.
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