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Ross Commissioners Table Vote on Heartland Homes Plan for Former Highland CC

The vote followed impassioned pleas by nearby residents not to approve the new housing development.

Indicating that they didn't have enough information, the Ross Township Board of Commissioners voted 8-1 Monday night to table a vote on a preliminary plan for 170 townhouses and 134 single-family homes on the grounds of the former Highland Country Club.

The vote followed a lengthy presentation by landscape architect Steven Victor and attorney Jonathan Kamin, who detailed, ordinance by ordinance, how the plan met all township zoning conditions.

Victor also detailed changes from the original plan, which included:

  • Elimination of an entrance to the townhouses from Golf Drive.
  • Creating a main entrance to the townhouses on Gass Road across from Peony Avenue.
  • Limiting traffic at the Highland Avenue entrance to the townhouses to right turns only in and out. 
  • Moving the main entrance to the single-family-homes portion of plan to the intersection of Highland and Cornell Avenues. That entrance will have right and left turning lanes leading onto Highland Avenue.
  • Moving a second entrance to the single-family homes off Highland Avenue closer to Wellington Drive.

Approximately 100 residents attended the meeting, with a half-dozen expressing their concerns about a variety of issues.

Mike Newmeyer, who lives on Gass Road, said he worries about the pesticides used on the golf course grounds.

"If the ground hasn't been tested, I don't feel that meets the criteria for health and safety of the kids up at Highcliff and the people in the immediate vicinity," he said. "I bought my house because there was a golf course across the street, and I didn't think I'd have to deal with six years of construction and dirt and noise." 

Herbert Gass Jr. said he worries about the increased traffic on Highland Avenue and Gass Road. 

"You can hear all of these studies but I've sat in that traffic, it's gridlock on Highland Avenue and Route 19 if you go anywhere around during rush hour," he said. "The people of West View should have a say because when Highland Avenue gets jammed up, all of the side streets in West View are going to take all of the traffic, and they're going to go down to Center Avenue, which is already pretty full."

Mike Andrzejewski echoed those sentiments.

"300 more cars on an already dangerous road is just an accident waiting to happen," he said. "Wait until this traffic study is done, before you make a decision."

In the end, the Ross commissioners did exactly that, voting to wait for the results of a traffic study and for assurances from water and sewer authorities that there is sufficient capacity for more than 300 new homes and townhomes.

The Ross planning commission voted 4-3 on Dec. 20 not to recommend approval, contending that at that time the development did not meet township specificiations.

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B Concerned January 09, 2013 at 06:26 PM
Yeah, If the current plan goes through, we are all going to have to live with it. I think the whole thing stinks. I have lived near Gas and Highland for a few years now and if this developement happens, I might be moving again. Cut the developement in half to total 150 homes. That may be more realistic, or I prefer do nothing. All I can envision is max $$$ profit.
B Concerned January 09, 2013 at 06:28 PM
Ok Kevin. When Sevil is reopened; if you have kids, they can go enroll there along with the commishioners.
B Concerned January 09, 2013 at 06:31 PM
I agree Linda....Has anyone ever tried pulling out of Casper?? You cant see what is coming up the hill and around the bend with current traffic. I have had to pull forward and backup numerous times and floor it to be safe. More traffic will make matters even worse.
Harris January 16, 2013 at 04:40 PM
All the poor people living there worried about the rich folk. This is why Ross is lagging behind North Allegheny. Too many old, poor people afraid of change. Our school district is massively lagging behind NA and our football program has become a joke.
Harris January 16, 2013 at 04:42 PM
Ross Township would be better if we let West View become entirely separate. let them have their own school district. They have been bringing us down. West View is the next Bellvue/Millvale

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