Ross Township Commissioners Tuesday delayed a vote until March 18 on a preliminary plan for 170 townhouses and 134 single-family homes to be built by Heartland Homes on the grounds of the former Highland Country Club.
When the proposal first came before the Ross Township Planning commission on Nov. 29, many in the crowd of 150-200 people voiced their opposition, saying they feared an increase in traffic on already busy Highland Avenue and Gass Road.
At Tuesday's meeting, attorney Jonathan Kamin, who represents the developer, Limerick Land Partners, acknowledged that their own traffic studies indicated the new housing plan would negatively impact traffic at two key intersections: Highland Avenue and Gass Road, and Highland and Cornell Avenues.
The author of the traffic study, Ray Caruso, told the commissioners the best solution would the installation of traffic lights, however neither intersection currently meets the criteria set by PennDOT, which owns both Highland Avenue and Gass Road.
"PennDOT is the one who decides the standards," said Kamin. "If PennDOT said to us, they would want a light to be put in, we would be happy to put in a light."
Kamin also said PennDOT would be unwilling to order new traffic signals based on projected traffic from a housing development which has not yet been built, much less approved.
"The solution that we have offered is that we would make a contribution to pay towards going ahead and paying for a light when the light is finally needed," he said.
In the meantime, traffic engineers from PennDOT, the developer, and Ross Township will meet to see what, if anything, can be done now.
"If there is anything that can be done, it certainly benefits us and the township," said Kamin. "That's why we are agreeing to extend the deadline and have that meeting and see if three heads can be put together to make some suggestions."
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