February 14, 2023, Franklin County PA – The Greene Township meeting room was filled to capacity last night for the Planning Commission Meeting where the conditional use permit application for a 676 unit apartment complex made its first appearance on the agenda. The application for the high density rental complex, to be built on 70 acres of farm land off of Ragged Edge Road immediately bordering the North Guilford and Summer Breeze neighborhoods and Montessory School property, was proposed by Metropolitan 4 LLC.
At last night’s meeting the attorney representing the applicant, Robert Tucker, was seeking a postponement for the planning commission evaluation for the time being, and to extend the time for township supervisors to consider approval of the plan, due to its many deficiencies to meet ordinance requirements.
Martin and Martin Consulting Engineer Tim Cormany commented that the current proposed plan was a “very vague sketch plan” that lacks engineering detail so that he could not even begin to “evaluate for subdivision land development”. Greene Township Planning Engineer Greg Lambert said other issues and deficits were found in addition to the 17 laid out in a memorandum from Martin and Martin to the planning commission released by the meeting time.
But the tabling of the plan evaluation for now did not stop community members, many who are members of a citizen group formed to fight the project called Community to Fight 676, from voicing concerns and reasons they believe that the project would be detrimental.
Some of the objections raised included traffic increase and the wear and tear of roads, especially the impact on Ragged Edge Road and its connection to Route 30. The safety of residents with such a large increase in the cars driving through the neighborhoods adjacent to the new complex was also raised. Crime increase and the security of residents and their property adjacent to the complex was another concern. Others raised the inability of water and other utilities to possibly service this many new living units in this location.
Many spoke of how carefully they had chosen the neighborhoods where they wanted to build or invest, pointing out that it was leaving areas where large apartment complexes were common, that brought them to Greene Township. Two residents spoke of their specific experiences in Baltimore and Montgomery County NJ living near similar high density housing that was their reason for choosing North Guildford to buy their part of the “American Dream”.
Many also acknowledged the need for more, and more affordable housing due to certain job growth in the area, but pointed out how Franklin County and even Green Township has abundant opportunities for such development that would not destroy the culture, character and harmony of established neighborhoods which provide stability for the community both socially and economically.
There were also questions of the motives for placing such rental properties in this kind of location among R1 low density residential housing asking pointedly, besides the land owners wanting to sell and the non-local developer wanting to profit from this complex, were there any other coalitions here in the area who were for this particular development in this location?
A meeting of Greene Township Supervisors tonight also has the proposed plan on the agenda to now decide when the public hearing for this proposal will be rescheduled. There is also a statement indicating that the conditional uses allowed for R1 zoning in the township will be discussed and possibly be revised to clarify definitions and remove conditional uses for mobile home parks, townhouses and garden apartments in the R1 zoned districts.
This public meeting will be held tonight at 7pm, 1145 Garver Lane and public comment is welcome.