Lehigh Valley

Supervisors consider age restricted development at Locust Valley Golf Club

UPPER SAUCON TWP., Pa. - Upper Saucon Township Board of Supervisors Monday evening heard a presentation by David Biddison of Traditions of America involving a request for a zoning ordinance amendment to establish an Age Qualified Community (AQC) overlay on land located at 5500 Locust Valley Road.

The AQC would be established on 100.3 acres of land that is generally known as the Locust Valley Golf Course.

According to Biddison, 30 to 40 letters were distributed to township residents inviting them to offer comments at a public meeting. Biddison said residents "would rather see an AQC."

Biddison noted there's "very limited difference between the two options."

The proposal is for 125 homes, the number allowed by law.

"Either way, it's going to be the same," Biddison said, adding the site layout will also remain the same.

The only difference involves the inclusion of amenities. No amenities are permitted by law, however, Traditions of America is proposing a clubhouse, which would be permitted if an AQC is approved.

The AQC would include 125 families, and driveway lengths of 47 feet versus 23 feet.

In terms of traffic, 246 vehicles are permitted by law, but Traditions of America's proposal calls for 140.

"Less traffic, no school children, same number of homes, less disturbance, greater buffer, the AQC was a benefit for them" Biddison said of how township residents reacted.

Biddison told the board the site layout is still being worked on.

"We're trying to preserve a lot of open space," he added. "We don't want to impact the neighbors."

According to Biddison, a 7 acre parcel located across the street will be given to the township for a public purpose.

"It's another benefit," Biddison said. "It's not immaterial."

According to Biddison, Traditions of America recently received an award in Las Vegas, N.V. for its work.

"We're not just any operation," he said. "We've been recognized nationally; we've been recognized regionally."

"We're building a quality product," Biddison added, "that will serve the aging population in Upper Saucon Township."

Supervisor Dennis Benner expressed support for the proposal.

"I'd much prefer to see an AQC here," he said. "I would support moving it forward."

Township resident Robert Ashford said he took over the golf course in 2012 and over the years attempted to work through various issues to improve it.

"We came to a resolution December of 2014 to look for possible development along the golf course," he said. "I am a township resident and I would like to do the best thing for the township."

The board did not take action on the mater.

A public hearing on the zoning ordinance amendment is scheduled for Sept. 12.

In other business, the board unanimously appointed a number of individuals to serve as special fire police for the township.

Township Manager Thomas Beil was asked if it has become more difficult finding individuals willing to serve as fire police.

"Generally, yes," Beil said. "The numbers are dwindling. It's becoming a problem."

While Beil said he doesn't believe the township has reached a "critical phase yet" with respect to those serving as fire police volunteers, he did note the township in the near future will be exploring ways to encourage more individuals to volunteer.

Board Chairman Stephen Wagner recognized those who are and have volunteered.

"I'd like to extend a thank you to all these volunteers," he said. "It's definitely very, very important for the the township."

Also during the meeting, the board announced its June 27 meeting has been canceled due to lack of agenda items.

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