A Bucks County builder received conditional approval Wednesday from the Upper Macungie Planning Commission for a preliminary plan to build townhouses and single-family homes on Twin Ponds Road.
During the meeting, representatives of the developer, Heritage Highgate, and planners were peppered with questions by some residents of the area who were concerned about increased traffic and other issues.
Some of their concerns stemmed from a change in an earlier version of the plan to allow for more townhouses and fewer single-family homes. The new plan is to construct 63 townhouses and 22 single-family homes. A 2007 plan for the development had called for 53 single-family homes and fewer townhouses.
One resident said when she bought her home on Yorkshire Drive four years ago she was told by the developers that the Dunbar Tract Phase III was going to be single-family homes. “Personally, I feel like the traffic in front of my home is going to potentially triple,” she said.
Her concerns were echoed by Ray Garcon, a resident of Yorkshire Drive, after the meeting. “I’m concerned for the safety of my kids,” Garcon said. “Traffic is awful.”
But Scott Stenroos, the township’s traffic engineer, said the best available expertise on the subject says that townhouses generate about half the traffic that single-family homes do. So the new plan shouldn’t result in more traffic than the 2007 plan would have, he said.
Traffic and safety were the biggest sticking point for the planning commission which declined to grant the developer’s request for a waiver of sidewalks in a stretch along Twin Ponds Road that goes past an old quarry pit.
“This is all about public safety,” said Kenneth Molony, township director of community development.
Anthony Maras, president of the Heritage Homes Group, told planners that his engineer would work with the township’s engineers to come up with a solution to putting sidewalks along the narrow stretch of Twin Ponds Road.
Planning Commission Chairman David Etowski told the neighbors that he sympathized with their concerns but said final approval on the plans will be up to the township supervisors. The planning commission’s job is to make sure the developers are complying with township ordinances and other requirements.
At a meeting in April, the planners had also been concerned about debris and vandalism at the vacant Dunbar house on the land.
Gia Raffaelli, a lawyer for Heritage Highgate, reported Wednesday that demolition of the Dunbar house was underway and should be finished by the end of next week.