I sure hope M-burg REALLY thinks about this, as "low-density" should not be considered for one of the last remaining open spaces there...
Builder seeks zoning change for 776 homes
Monday, May 08, 2006
BY JERRY L. GLEASON
Of The Patriot-News
The largest tract of undeveloped land in Mechanicsburg, the 185-acre Hess farm, might be closer to being developed.
The Carlino Development Group has asked the borough to change the zoning on the Hess tract so Carlino can proceed with plans for 776 housing units and a commercial area with small retail shops.
The Hess property, which is between South Market Street and Allendale Road, was a working farm until a few years ago, Mechanicsburg Manager Jonathan Stough said.
Stough said 648 single-family houses could be built on the property under the current zoning.
Carlino hasn't submitted a formal development plan, but its sketch plan proposes 776 housing units, including single-family detached houses, town houses, stacked town houses and multifamily units, and a 40,000-square-foot commercial area. It would take six to 10 years to build all the units.
As proposed, 60 acres, or about a third of the total area, would remain open space.
Carlino proposes a low-density area along the northern border of the property, similar to the single-family houses on Darla Road.
The area just north of the Hess farm was developed in the 1970s and 1980s, Stough said.
"There hasn't been a lot of residential development in the borough in 20 years," he said.
JERRY L. GLEASON: 975-9782 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Mechanicsburg Borough Council will hold a hearing at 6:30 p.m. June 20 to take public comment on an ordinance that would change the zoning so the development of the Hess farm could proceed.
In my head I am seeing Steelton looking something like Conshohocken when this is all said and done.
Council forms group to revitalize downtown
Monday, May 08, 2006
BY DIANA FISHLOCK
Of The Patriot-News
The Steelton Borough Council has approved creating an economic development corporation to direct the borough's $8 million, 10-year revitalization plan.
The nonprofit Steelton Economic Development Corp. will buy properties, demolish them, prepare the sites for development and reinvest the money as it sells them, said Mayor Thomas Acri and Secretary-treasurer Michael Musser II.
The seven-member corporation likely will begin meeting this month, Musser said.
"If you look under the borough code, the borough's not designed to be a developer because of all the bidding requirements," Musser said. The new corporation will be more flexible, he said.
"They will handle the development from now on. They will work in cooperation with the borough, but at the end of the day, the economic development corp will be the driving force behind the redevelopment," said Musser, who will also serve as the corporation's executive director.
The corporation's members will be Patricia A. Husic of Vartan National Bank, Joseph P. Beck Jr. of Sovereign Bank, Thomas C. Bell of Capital Mortgage Resources, Gerald K. Morrison of McNees, Wallace & Nurick, Stanley I. Rapp of Greenlee Partners, Charles H. Wallace Jr. of Wallace Funeral Directors Inc., and a representative from the Dauphin County Department of Community and Economic Development.
"They have a lot of excitement, a lot of energy, and they like a challenge," Musser said. "Attaching their names to the project brings a ton of credibility to the project right off the bat."
The members have financial backgrounds; experience with developers; and legal, political and real estate knowledge, Musser said. "That's usually what it takes to put together a project and make it successful," he said.
The corporation members are volunteers, he said.
The Borough Council will provide the corporation $50,000 to get started, said Musser, who hopes a few individuals will also contribute.
Steelton might or might not need an economic development corporation, said David Black, CEO and president of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and the Capital Region Economic Corp.
"It depends on funding streams as much as anything," he said. "A lot of the traditional downtown programs are exclusive for boroughs. Economic development corporations can't apply for them."
But the corporation could buy property and hold it separately from borough assets, Black said. "It wouldn't be a liability on the borough. If they want to eventually become a developer of Steelton, it makes sense."
Often municipalities don't use economic development corporations as much as they anticipate because private developers step up to the plate, Black said.
"We were just hoping to have one investor, and we'd see a domino effect," Acri said. "That's not what's happening. There's a lot of people coming forward."
There are a lot of mixed emotions about downtown business owners needing to move, Acri said.
"We're going to work hard to keep them in our community, to find places for them," the mayor said. "Some can move into the new storefronts. Some we're going to have to find some new locations for them. We don't want any of them to leave. We just need their property to make this work."
The 8-acre tract between Front Street and Mittal Steel, slated to become a business park, includes some smaller businesses and about 10 families living in apartments above the storefronts, Acri said.
Borough officials say there are no plans to use eminent domain to obtain land for the project.