Tell Us: What's Your Top Priority for Ross Township's New Manager in 2013?

Douglas Sample begins his new job on Jan. 21.

Ross Township will have a new manager in 2013. What should be his number one priority?

What's the one thing you think he could do to make Ross Township an even better place to live and work?

Share your thoughts in the comments box below, and we will be sure to share them with the new Ross manager. 

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Jen January 01, 2013 at 01:29 PM
Hoping the board will vote "no" on 1-7-13 to the Heartland Homes development & Mr Sample & company can work to keep the area green & family friendly (??)
J Thompson January 01, 2013 at 07:32 PM
Jen - Please wake up and smell the coffee! Have you looked at the old Country Club? Its NOT green - its an eyesore of a jungle - There can be needed development in Ross with a balance for keeping it family friendly. Maybe a little smaller community - a larger park or develop further in from the roadway... There are lots of options but simply saying keep it green is not being realistic. If you have the funds to purchase the land and keep it green - well all the power to you, otherwise keep an open mind to some much needed revenue in an area which has been rapidly going downhill.
AnonymousNorthHills January 02, 2013 at 04:02 PM
Heartland Homes development on Highland Country Club should NOT happen. It will affect West View with water issues from the underground stream that would be cut plus all the asphalt and homes no where for water to go. The traffic on Highland Ave would be a nightmare and people would be getting t boned trying to pull out just like they have accidents from pulling out from Cornell. Huge headache and nightmare. Plus you cannot predict how many students will affect the North Hills school system since you cannot predict the future and 2 schools are closed out. The utlities will be taxed to the max and if power goes out this could affect people especially anybody who is sick and needing power for equipment. Again I digress I would rather if I could afford that expensive of a home I would move to Cranberry Twp where it has lower taxes!. The area is only sustaining homes in the $100,000 range just look around. We could leave the restaurant and put in affordable dishes with American style and then take the remaining ground (after proper testing) and use that land like Soergel and Trax farm does by having fruit trees and other ameneties. You could have a small gift shop like Soergel's and that would generate taxes galore between the restaurant and small shop. This is a nice community let us keep it that way!
North Hills Hooligan January 02, 2013 at 06:48 PM
Ross and West view are dying communities. Look around.... dilapidated houses, dilapidated businesses, stagnant growth. Ross needs a boost in both residential and commercial growth. Houses built in the 50's that lack renovations don't help make Ross a place people want to live and they don't raise property values . Be thankful that developers are even looking at Ross.
AnonymousNorthHills January 03, 2013 at 12:39 PM
Dilapidated houses need to be FIXED and there are a lot of houses for sale in Ross Twp and West View Borough that could use some TLC so it does not turn into a ghetto. People want to buy new and leave the older homes abandoned so what happens when these new homes get old just ignore them and tear down more land and build new homes? REALLY! This development will have a negative impact. West View Plaza is abandoned and these homes are not going to spike new interest in that plaza as they will shop in Cranberry Twp or Ben Avon Heights. Plus the schools will have a negative impact as you CANNOT predict the future. Also water is an issue and it will overload Girty's run and flood West View and overburden utilities. Let us fix the homes we got for sale and that would make it a nicer community! Let us partner with Soergel's like I said before or Trax farm after proper soil testing it would pull a lot of business in as that would be awesome to have fresh produce from farms that are local and keep them afloat and give us green space.Reread all the comments I left previously!!!!!!
Jen January 03, 2013 at 01:27 PM
You rock, Anonymous - I hope you are at the meeting on Monday - we need your voice !
Kevin Y. January 03, 2013 at 02:30 PM
Let's put to rest the idea that this development will put ANY undue stress on the North Hills School District. Instead of emotional asssertions like "the schools will have a negative impact" (?)- look at the facts. The number of students in the NHSD has been in a steep decline for years. In 1996 the total enrollment was 5,070. In 2006 the total enrollment was 4,768. In 2011 the total enrollment was 4,226. The number of graduates in the senior class have dropped from over 900 in the 1980's to less than 400 today (370 in 2012). Some of the lower elementary grades are currently under 300 students. This is hardly a school district which can't handle additional students. And it is possible to predict the impact of this development in terms of the schools. Pretty much everyone agrees that this development will bring in between 200 and 300 students. Not an overwhelming number. For comparison, the NHSD lost 249 students in just the single year from 2010 to 2011! The superindent says the district can "easily" handle this increase in student enrollment. There is no reason not to accept his assessment... The attempts to create fears about the "negative" impact of this development on the NHSD are are simply fact-free and inflammatory. To the contrary, the new students should be welcomed as they will do a small part to stem the relentless decline in students in the NHSD.
AnonymousNorthHills January 03, 2013 at 03:59 PM
McIntrye and West View elementary schools are near capacity not sure about Ross but I think it is as well and they sold off 2 elementary schools so if a population of kids would explode like that we would have to put kids in trailers until a new school could be built. McIntyre had to add another Kindergarten class. I tried to send my kid to Ross but could not due to classes were filled to capacity and they would have to add an aid which they did not want to do as that costs money! This is only one aspect of all my comments. I would not want kid to suffer due the greed of the developer because they want to be greedy we have a community to be concerned with and we are not worried on one thing. Mulitple things. Schools is one and I do NOT think the public is hearing all the facts and again we CANNOT predict the future! Traffic is another issue get ready for more accidents if this devlopment was given a go ahead. SEE OTHER COMMENTS FROM ABOVE. Think about our children through with earnest as they are our future!!!!!!
Kevin Y. January 03, 2013 at 04:59 PM
For someone so certain the future is completely unpredictable- you have confidently made a lot of wild and unsubstantiated predictions about the "negative" affects of this development, ranging from predictions that West View will flood to massive failure of the electrical grid... I only addressed the school issue because these other Armegeddon "predictions" are so off-the-wall. I have offered some facts about the declining enrollment in the school district, including pointing out that the NHSD has lost student enrollment in a single year equal to the estimated number of new students the development will bring in. In the extremely unlikely scenario that the elementary school population would increase beyond the capacity of the four current elementary schools (keep in mind that not all the incoming students will be of elementary age) there will be no trailers or a new school built. The superintendent has said Seville would be reopened in that event. Obviously fewer students and fewer teachers will be cheaper than having to add a few more classes and teachers. By your logic the best case outcome for North Hills would be no students at all...
B Concerned January 03, 2013 at 05:02 PM
The proposed developement is too large as proposed. Scale it down. I like the idea of keeping the homes inland, back from Gas and Highland. I do think current proposal will have unwanted traffic, local school (Highcliff) population and potential property tax implication. I dont want my kid have to go to a reopened Seville when I live close to Highcliff. This thing stinks as proposed. If they cut the number of homes proposed to half, that would be good for BOTH side of the matter. Let's not be like Washington on this one. I with Jen and Anonymous at this point.
AnonymousNorthHills January 03, 2013 at 06:38 PM
I live in the area and I do see how bad traffic is and it would have a huge negative impact with a developement of that size. Highland Ave is a mess with traffic. Side roads in West View become drag strips when Highland is backed up! We also have had power issues in that area. I also know we have an underground stream on Highland Country Club property and once you divert water it can take have a mind of its own along with rain water! I can see a pool of water from Highland when it rains so double or triple that amount what is buried. Prediction of classes is ok when the population increases slowly with the purchase of EXISTING homes and younger couples move in to affordable housing and not slam the school system with over 300 homes and unpredicatable amount of kids. We need a gradual increase! My kid goes to an elementary school in the area so I know it is maxed in class size. Again it goes back to the community needs input and not the developers greedy mindset who could care less what happens to the area as they do not live there and will not see the affect. I did give alternate and great idea's to revamp the property!
Jillian James January 03, 2013 at 07:16 PM
I don’t think that the proposed Heartland Homes development of the Highland Country Club property will bring tsunamis or power grid failures, but I do believe that the proposal has several downsides. The proposed 300+ homes would put probably close to 600 additional cars on Highland Avenue and/or Gass Road. Not Armageddon, but even with road improvements it will be difficult to say the least. I have heard that most of the homes built will be in the $350K range. I wonder if they will be able to sell all the properties. If I had the finances for a $350K house, I would not want it next to homes that sell for $120K or less. I would also want to be outside of Allegheny County’s high taxes. Proximity to 279 may be a selling point to some buyers but IMHO the negatives outweigh the few positives. Will we end up with a partially developed area/eyesore?
Jillian James January 03, 2013 at 07:17 PM
and more... I believe there will be an impact on the North Hills School District – I am not one to blindly believe the school administrators. Yes, the enrollment has dropped dramatically, but so has the number of schools. At the peak, the district had 17 school buildings. With the sale of Perrysville and Northway, the district is down to 6 total (not counting vacant Seville). All four elementary buildings are near capacity (500-550 students). Someone has stated that if the elementaries go beyond capacity “there will be no trailers or a new school built.” I am not certain how he can guarantee no trailers as one was narrowly avoided at one school this past fall, but even if that were true and the district just re-opened Seville, I would be very upset if my child had to be uprooted from his school and redistricted to another. The township and the school district could certainly use the additional property tax revenue, but what expenses will they have to incur for this development? I want to see the property developed in some way – I just don’t think this proposal is the right fit.
J Koehler January 08, 2013 at 06:45 PM
If the proposal stays as it is currently, then that scenario is very likely. A fraction of the single family homes get built within the first couple years of phasing, and sales dwindle in the remaining years and Ross is left with an "abandoned" master plan. If only the commissioners can work a balance between the developer ($ ROI $) and the community (safety concerns & loss of amenities). Cut the number of houses in half and leave the clubhouse, pool, & 9 holes. Then this would be an attractive place to buy. I think Mr. Sample this is the most important thing on your plate, create a vision of what should be done with the former golf course.


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