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CAEDC impact study shows job creation and labor income in potential Upper Allen Township development

UPPER ALLEN TOWNSHIP — A development of more than 300 garden-style apartments, 44 townhouses, a hotel conference center and some commercial components in the area of Messiah College in Upper Allen Township is a step closer to reality.

The township commissioners Wednesday night approved zoning map and text changes that are needed for the development of Oakwood Hills on more than 100 acres among West Lisburn, Mill and Quail Hollow roads near the village of Grantham.

Lawyer Charlie Courtney, speaking for the project, said the township likely would see a land development plan for the development late spring or early summer.

The proposed Oakwood Hills project also would include restaurants, a bank, a convenience store and professional offices.

About 50 residents attended a public hearing Feb. 11 on the proposed development and more than a dozen spoke, pointing to traffic issues related to the large development.

Those concerns would be addressed in the land development process.

The project, being undertaken by Rider Musser Development LLC, is created by Messiah College to develop the three tracts making up the project.

The property includes more than 2,000 feet of frontage along Route 15.

The action the commissioners approved includes rezoning one part of the property from institutional to business professional office and another from institutional to high density residential.

The zoning changes included establishing emergency medical treatment facilities, convenience stores with or without gas dispensing, retail businesses and shopping centers, malls or plazas as permitted uses in the business professional office, or BPO, zone.

The developer also won a change to increase from 55 feet to 85 feet the maximum height of motels and hotels with conference and convention centers in the BPO district. For each foot above 55, the side yard area would have to be increased by 2 feet.

Retail businesses in the BPO district are limited to no more than 15,000 square feet.

The developer is not proposing a large shopping center, but multiple tenants will be in some of the buildings that will share a parking lot. Under the ordinance, that qualifies as a shopping center.

The land is a combination of three properties, the Rider, Musser and Mumma farms, which Messiah College began to acquire in 1997.

Rider Musser Development LLC will oversee all the day-to-day operations and decisions related to the properties’ development and will maintain an “arm’s length” relationship with the college.

Rider Musser said an economic impact study conducted by the Cumberland Area Economic Development Corp. determined that Oakwood Hills is estimated to create approximately 875 full-time jobs and generate more than $41 million in labor income. It is expected to be built in phases over 15 to 20 years at a cost of $50 million to $100 million.

This article was posted on Pennlive on February 18, 2015

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