Development critics raise landslide fears in Adams Township

February 7, 2019 Cranberry Local News

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ADAMS TWP — Planning commissioners balked over slope disturbances Wednesday as they withheld approval of the 52 acre, 42 lot plan proposed for Dobson Road.

The Meadowpoint plan was one of several plans tabled at Wednesday's meeting where commissioners approved two developments and sent a draft ordinance for supervisors to consider.

Commissioners tabled the Meadowpoint plan after an extended discussion about residents' and officials' concerns about slope disturbances and the potential impact on neighbors if a landslide were to occur.

Developers defended their plan saying it had been approved by geotechnical engineers. Commissioners said they were still concerned that many of the lots would be positioned on slopes at around 15 to 25 percent grade and that it could be dangerous in the event of a landslide.

Developers recommended the township hire its own engineer to study the plan if they were concerned and also offered to amend the plan to reduce lot sizes.

An amended plan would let the developer move proposed units farther away from existing sloped land. Commissioners said this could also be accomplished by reducing the number of housing units, and they ultimately agreed to consider a proposed plan with the smaller lots at a future meeting.

Rob Crouthamel representing Saving Rural Adams, which has three members with properties adjoining the plan, also raised concerns about the slopes and the potential impacts on neighborhoods. He asked the commission to reject the plan.

Commissioners also tabled the proposed Howells subdivision, Brownsville PRD and Harlan Simon's industrial/residential use plan.

Commissioners recommended the Sunrise Acres RAL conditional use to supervisors. The proposed plan for Ridge Road would feature 87 lots.

Commissioners also recommended approval for the Gabriel's Crest residential development off Hespenheide road.

The plan calls for 63 units and received praise from township engineer Ron Olsen for keeping lot sizes small and protecting an environmentally sensitive area even though developers were under no requirement to do so.

The plan features density much lower than required by the ordinance, which Olsen said seems to be preferred by the township.

Commissioners recommended this plan to supervisors.

Finally, commissioners approved a draft ordinance that would alter the existing code dictating what slope disturbances would be allowed in township developments. The ordinance will be made public after supervisors approve it, allowing the planning commission to move forward in pursuing its adoption by the township.

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