Washington Twp. dispute: What’s next for Hithergreen property?

Green space behind the vacant Hithergreen Senior center in Washington Twp. May 10, 2017. TREMAYNE HOGUE / STAFF
Caption
Green space behind the vacant Hithergreen Senior center in Washington Twp. May 10, 2017. TREMAYNE HOGUE / STAFF

After a near two-hour meeting, Washington Twp. zoning commission voted unanimously to deny recommendation for the approval of a 35-home subdivision at the site of the former Hithergreen Center property.

The plan was proposed by Tom Peebles of Peebles Homes.

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Dozens of residents spoke at the zoning meeting, with all but one speaker voicing opposition to the plans, citing the desire for a neighborhood park and objecting to the density of the project.

The project called for lots of a quarter-acre for the 14-acre plot of land.

Peebles met with members of the neighborhood in May in a similar setting, when they voiced their initial concerns of losing what they call their “de-facto” park.

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Though the vote did not go in the development’s favor, the zoning commission’s denial does not spell the end of the development.

Zoning commission acts as a recommendation board, according to Zoning Manager Ryan Lee. The subdivision could still move forward, as Peebles will present the same plans to township trustees Sept. 11.

“It’s a process like anything else,” Peebles said after the meeting. “We will take all their comments into consideration and go on to the next meeting.”

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Commission members agreed the project was too dense for the area.

Peebles said he doesn’t know if changing his plans to alter the density would be economically feasible.

“It’s a situation where I have land cost, development cost on the project. It all has to make economic sense, otherwise it doesn’t work,” he said.