A large housing development is being proposed on the northwest side of the intersection of Cedar Crest Boulevard and Lower Macungie Road in Lower Macungie Township.
If eventually approved by the township, a total of 153 age-restricted homes will be built on 54 acres of what is called the Farr tract.
On Thursday night, representatives of K. Hovnanian Homes, the developer, asked Lower Macungie commissioners to change township zoning so development of the “active adult age-restricted community” can proceed.
Commissioners voted to refer the zoning change request to the township planning commission for review.
Outside the meeting, Anthony Maras, area president of Hovnanian’s northeast division, stressed the project is only at the conceptual stage.
Maras said his company has not yet submitted sketch plans to the township for review. He estimated it will take at least a year or two until Hovnanian gets all necessary approvals and can begin construction.
The development of single homes would be for people who are 55 and older.
The conceptual plan envisions one entrance into the development off Lower Macungie Road and another off Cedar Crest Boulevard at the north end of the property.
“This is a key property and there are a number of issues we’ll have to work out with PennDOT in terms of access,” said Sara Pandl, the township’s planning director.
She also said the township want to see some open space preserved on the site.
The development would include a community center building and a pool.
The developer is requesting that the township’s suburban residential zoning be modified to allow an active adult residential community as a conditional use.
It also wants the township to allow three housing units per acre in that residential community and only a 15-foot separation between buildings rather than the required 20 feet.
Currently, such age-restricted communities only are allowed in areas of the township zoned semi-rural.
Rather than changing the zoning of the Farr tract to semi-rural, Commissioner James Lancsek suggested adding language under the definition of suburban residential in the township’s zoning ordinance to allow such communities.
Atty. Erich Schock, who represented the developer, indicated the wording change will simply allow three units per acre to be built in the suburban residential zoning, rather than 2.5.
Hovnanian also did the Four Seasons at Farmington development in the township, according to Pandl. She said that also is a 55-and-older development.
The Farr tract currently is a farm with one vacant home on it, according to the rezoning request filed with the township.
Action on other projects
Also during their meeting, commissioners gave preliminary approval for construction of a new building in a shopping center and final approval for construction of a warehouse.
A free-standing building that will house shops, a bank and a restaurant is planned in n the Trexlertown Shopping Center on the south side of Hamilton Boulevard near the village of Trexlertown.
The developers soon will return to the township to get final approval for that 12,000-square-foot building, which they hope to get erected this year.
The now-vacant 3.25-acre building site is just north of the Giant grocery store in the shopping center and east of Giant’s gas station.
An Applebee’s restaurant is between the building site and Hamilton Boulevard.
The addition of the new building, with landscaping, will make the shopping center look more finished and more attractive, said Pandl.