David Jaindl’s evolving plan to develop the former Rutz Farm at Walbert Avenue and Hampton Road now calls for an “upscale,” gated, 55-and-older condominium community.
The Hills at Winchester would include 192 age-restricted condominium units, including 48 that would be built as twins. It would also include 49 lots for private single-family homes and a restaurant.
On Wednesday night, Jaindl brought his newest sketch plan for the development to the South Whitehall Township Commissioners, which unofficially appeared to be generally positive about the plan.
Jaindl said the age-restricted community fills a need in South Whitehall Township, which does not yet have a development of its kind.
The developer must next go to the Planning Commission before he can begin to move forward. He said he does not expect construction to begin before spring 2015.
In addition to the age-restricted community, Jaindl also plans to develop 49 “fee lots” of between a half and 2½ acres for single-family homes at the western and northern portions of the fallow 94-acre farm.
These would not be part of the gated, age-restricted community, but integrated into the surrounding neighborhood via cul de sacs off of Huckleberry Road and an extended 40th Street.
Jaindl also plans to incorporate the shuttered Shoemaker Auto dealership at 4131 Walbert Ave. into the development. The majority of the 4½-acre tract would become the site of a recreation center for the condominiums to include a clubhouse, a swimming pool and tennis courts.
However, Jaindl also said he plans to set aside a portion of this lot to develop a restaurant at the intersection of Walbert Avenue and Hampton Road.
This is the only part of the plan that does not sit well with neighbors, according to Rance Block, who lives on the 4000 block of Wedgewood Road. Block told commissioners that a restaurant does not fit in with the residential character of the neighborhood.
He said he is concerned about the restaurant operating at late night hours and serving alcohol. The neighborhood is generally quiet after dark, Block said. “Depending on the restaurant, this could be problematic,” he said.
Jaindl said he does not have a specific restaurant lined up to take the parcel. However, he added that whatever it is, he would want it to be “compatible with the neighborhood.”
“We respect the neighbors who have lived there for a really long time,” Jaindl said.