About 35 South Whitehall residents came to hear David Jaindl present his plans Thursday night for developing 94.4 acres off Walbert Avenue, then raised concerns about the potential for water runoff, traffic woes and other issues.
Jaindl had come to the South Whitehall Planning Commission's meeting to present for developing 106 single-family homes on the Rutz Farm land and to gauge reaction from both the planners and township residents. The proposal calls for lot sizes ranging from 15,000 square feet to 2 acres, green space, walking paths, landscaping along Walbert Avenue and about 10,555 feet of new roadway, according to information provided at the meeting.
It also calls for two access roads off Walbert Avenue into the development, and another off Huckleberry. The roads would not connect.
The land is currently zoned as low-density residential, which would allow the development of more lots -- 117 -- but with minimum lot sizes of 20,000 square feet. Under the township's comprehensive plan, the land is in a section of the township classified as suburban neighborhood. New zoning regulations have not been completed.
Residents' primary concerns centered on the potential for traffic congestion on Walbert Avenue and water runoff into the existing homes on Walbert Avenue, across from the Rutz Farm. Residents also raised concerns about the proximity of the new homes to the backyards in Winchester Heights and the possible impact on enrollments in the .
"It's not a good plan," said Drew Krupa, whose mother Mary lives near the proposed development. With the number of houses proposed, he said more than two access roads are needed off Walbert Avenue to the property.
"Traffic is going to get much, much worse," added resident Paul Sacher.
One resident suggested that Jaindl develop larger lots, and fewer lots, on the property to ensure that the area remains as a desired place to live.
Jaindl, who calmly listened to residents' complaints, said his goal Thursday night was to get their feedback, as well as the planners'. He said he would take their concerns under consideration, and try to deal with them, in a revised sketch. He also invited residents to meet with him to go over revisions.
Jaindl said the project would be market-driven but that he hoped to start development in 18 months.
"We believe the housing market will come back," he said.
He speculated that it would take 15 years to fully develop the property.
The planning commission took Jaindl's plan under advisement.