Large Washington Twp. apartment project clears hurdle; neighbors still upset

Development on farmland near Yankee Trace would have 276 apartments in two-story and three-story buildings

Credit: Lynch, Gregory

Credit: Lynch, Gregory

A developer looking to construct hundreds of apartments in Washington Twp. cleared a major hurdle this week, but residents say the changes the developer made don’t go far enough to assuage their fears about the project.

Indiana-based CRG Residential will build Flats at Stones Crossing, a 276-apartment development spread among 12 two-story and three-story buildings on the southeast corner of Yankee Street and Spring Valley Pike. Township trustees voted 2-0 to approve rezoning and a pre-development plan. Trustee Sharon Lowry was absent.

The site is just north of the Yankee Trace golf and housing development and has been agricultural land.

When CRG initially submitted plans for the nearly 33-acre siter, it faced concerns of the township’s zoning commission, trustees and residents, all of whom requested changes.

“Over the past year, there’s been a myriad of different items that CRG has been responsive to, both with zoning commission as well as surrounding residents,” said Ryan Lee, the township’s development director.

That, he said, includes ensuring that buildings near Yankee Street are two and not three stories, modifying architectural elements and “preserving a significant amount of vegetation and some of that natural growth barrier on the southern side of the property.”

But nearby residents say those changes don’t go far enough to address concerns over the size and scope of the project, including the wisdom of constructing higher-density development on the site and the amount of traffic it could generate.

Mal Peaso, of Maple Run Drive, who has lived in the township since 1984, said the development’s eight 3-story buildings and four 2-story buildings “are going to stick out like an eyesore.”

“We’re deeply disappointed in the trustees’ total about-face on this thing from their stated position in the last meeting, when they were in unison against it because they didn’t feel it fit into the neighborhood in Washington Twp. with the architectural structure and so forth,” Peaso said. “We don’t understand what has changed.”

Rosemary Ramsay, of Maple Run Drive, said she has lived in the area for 15 years and has attended four meetings regarding the project thus far. She also questioned trustees’ change of heart and said her concerns “have not been alleviated at all.”

“I still think there’s going to be a severe traffic problem, and they’ve done nothing to convince me otherwise,” Ramsay said. “I went through it carefully and ... I’m actually very disappointed that the only thing they changed with this new proposal were trees and bricks.”

John Lassaux, CRG Residential’s director of development, said a study showing how traffic would be handled was completed earlier this year.

“It was updated based on Montgomery County feedback and there were no further comments,” he said.

Lee said the next step for CRG is to submit a final development plan to the township, a document that would include more specifics on landscaping, preliminary engineering and architectural elevations. That likely will occur in the next two to three months and be accompanied with a public hearing for surrounding property owners, he said.

Lassaux said the timeline and cost of the project remain in limbo while the final details are being determined.

“We’re very happy to get through the first stage of the process, and excited to continue to work on the design and engineering for the stage two,” Lassaux said.

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