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Traffic Concerns Delay Vote on Heartland Home Plan for Highland Country Club

Ross commissioners will take public comment before taking a final vote.

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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Jen February 20, 2013 at 01:28 PM
I hope "J Koehler" speaks @ the 3/18 meeting - (he's)? made some great points in the comments, over the last few months..
Richard Cook February 20, 2013 at 03:01 PM
From our Facebook Page: Robert Charles Loehr Jr North Hills should make the area into a park. With mountain bike trails, equestrian trails, hiking, disk golf and bird sanctuary . Much like some of the Allegheny County Parks offer. Like North Park, South Park. Denise Hilderbrand How about a park with a library a pond. Ice skating rink something for families to do not just a bunch of apartments to over crowd the schools that are already over crowded
Richard Cook February 20, 2013 at 04:17 PM
More Facebook debate: Richard Senko Hay Rob and Denise that's a great idea. You two should pitch in and buy the land and turn it into out door rec area. Richard Senko You will need about $7,661,600 to cover that. Samantha Kunsak That would be nice but I'm sure Ross township is gonna love getting all that property tax. It's all about making money!
Sherry Dalton February 20, 2013 at 04:22 PM
To delay approval of this development was a wise thing to do. Not only should the traffice be addressed but the impact of the water and sewage systems. If not now, they will have to be addressed. Yes the additional taxes would be great but the expenses incurred also need to be addressed. If it truly has to be a develpment how about a little less then 300 which is way too much for that area. A park/ice skating rink, community pool are great ideas. Sherry
Jose February 20, 2013 at 06:34 PM
This delay is contrived and purposeful by the comissioners, this will be vote up at some point. By delaying the commisoners can claim they did all they could by way of their numerous delays, this is to divert any negative press and felelings from the township residents. Even though they never had any doubts they would allow this developent to go through. I would be willing to bet this gets approved with little or no change to the current plans, they do not care about the traffic or its residents all they see is more money to spend. I agree there should be something where the entire township can benefit from instead of just putting up another umpteen new houses and townhouses that will tax both our roadways and sewer system. The roads in this area are not designed to handle the traffic that exisits today let alone the additional traffic that this will create. How will a light help a road system that simply can't handle the traffic?
Mike February 20, 2013 at 08:06 PM
Traffic lights at the intersections of Highland and Gass and Highland and Cornell will most likely delay response times to fire calls. First the light at Highland and Gass will most likely result in cars blocking the entrance to the station which is just a few yards from the intersection. Cars blocking the fire department entrance will delay the equipment leaving as well as firefighters trying to get into the station. Secondly, many of the calls this station responds to require the fire trucks to travel on Highland Ave. Many of these calls also require a right turn onto Cornell. When vehicles on Cornell are at the intersection the fire trucks cannot turn onto Cornell with cars stopped there. Signs that tell drivers to "STOP HERE ON RED" or "DO NOT BLOCK ENTRANCE" will most likely be ignored by drivers.
Nancy Dorn February 20, 2013 at 09:37 PM
I am also concerned about the traffic, especially highland and Perry highway. I curious what the outcome will be. I will stay tuned. Nancy Dorn
Nancy Dorn February 20, 2013 at 09:46 PM
I too am concerned about the traffic, especially Highland and Perry Hwy. As a realtor I am torn. There are many homeowners who love North Hills School DIstrict but would like to build a new home. At this point, there is no new construction in the area, other than Sangree Farms and they are very expensive. I am curious what the outcome will be. I will definitely stay tuned! Nancy Dorn
Kevin February 20, 2013 at 10:41 PM
Nancy The last time I checked Highland Country Club development is gonna be rather expensive to .
cm February 20, 2013 at 11:59 PM
If I hit the lottery I planned to purchase and make a park.
Matthew C Harvey February 21, 2013 at 01:38 AM
I choose to live in this area. I raised my kids here. We love living in our Gas Road area. The Highland Country Club is gone for good. Ross Township Board of Commissioners need to get the two lights installed. Politics can make things happen. I don't like to see it but, the North Hills School District and Ross Township will reap tax dollars.
Sherry Dalton February 21, 2013 at 10:25 AM
You could just imagine these lights in the middle of winter on the hills. What a nightmare they will be. The single family homes planned for this development are pricey. Chck out Venango Trails in Marshall Township. They are building the townshomes there that I bet will be similar. Everyone should take a good look at them.
AnonymousNorthHills February 21, 2013 at 12:44 PM
Highland Ave has a "Dangerous Intersection" sign on it so that should tell you just how busy that road way is during the day. Also the Highland Ave is falling apart just look at the area about Bronx Field. Nice big pot hole!! I took a walk down Highland Ave and tried to not break my neck on the icy sidewalks and get a nice breeze from all the traffic. I found it funny watching someone pull of Cornell they were so scared of the oncoming traffic they peeled tire to get out. I do think Highland Ave will be worse and Gas Road if this gets developed. Minnock still has open lots on Schlag Ct. which is also known as Sangree Farms and used to be a farm. Being the economy the way it is and the area it is in I just do not think it is a good fit for the area. See comments from the article: http://northhills.patch.com/articles/ross-commissioners-table-vote-on-heartland-homes-plan-for-former-highland-cc I think the developers who think of these grand schemes should LIVE in the area they want to screw up and not just throw the grenade and leave everyone else to deal with any issues that may or may not arise.
Laura February 27, 2013 at 01:24 PM
The West View area has been in a steady decline over the last two decades. People move away, people die and the population has shrunk. The West View shopping plaza used to be a hub of activity and now it's half deserted and in disrepair. This development will bring people and families to West View. Families that will spend money in West View and boost the economy of that area. Of course traffic is a concern but that shouldn't be the reason we keep a development that is going to do more good than bad from coming in. Yes it would have been nice for the Country Club to stay in business and serve the community, but that didn't happen. The best solution is the one that will allow West View to be a livable, thriving community for the next 100 years.

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