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WHITE TOWNSHIP: Revised housing plan given OK

by on November 13, 2013 11:00 AM

Members of the White Township planning commission approved revised plans Tuesday for the initial phase of a student townhouse development between Maple Street and Carter Avenue.

The new proposal, put forth by Mansfield-based B&L Properties, scales down first part of the development and adds a driveway to give future tenants their own access to the property.

In September, the White Township planners tabled B&L’s proposal to allow more time for the municipal engineer to review the site’s stormwater management plan, as well as the question of landscape buffering, the private alleyway and sanitary sewerage planning.

The proposed development is part of a plan originally brought before the commission by B&L Properties in the spring. For several months a number of concerns — such as those regarding space constrictions and architectural buffers — have been being addressed by the developer and those at the township, as well as Indiana Borough officials.

The property lies on the border with the borough.

The phase I plans, which were approved pending certain conditions, include a single housing unit with 57 beds and 61 parking spaces. Up until about a month ago, phase I included a second, smaller building that would have brought the total number of beds to 71.

In addition, the plan no longer includes the possibility of using and maintaining a private alleyway that borders Indiana Borough. Developers will now construct a drive that will provide the main access to the property, according to assistant township manager Chris Anderson.

The change was met with approval by planning commission members who had previously expressed concern regarding overuse and maintenance concerns related to the development.

George Lenz, of the planning commission, cited a sense of responsibility for residents who live along the alleyway and said that he didn’t want it to become a “highway.”

“I’m grateful at least that we got them to move it,” he said.

Planning commission members said that they would still like to address any concerns residents have regarding the alley, primarily whether its traffic would increase due to the development.

B&L Properties has addressed other concerns as well, Anderson reported. Working with Indiana Borough, a plan was created to dig under Maple Street and tie into sewer lines at Grandview Avenue.

Stormwater plans now include the creation of three catch basins to allow water to slowly be released into the borough’s system. Regarding privacy and buffering, an 8-foot-high fence will now surround the property.

Anderson said that he would contact B&L Properties regarding approval of the first phase of the project, and requesting final comments from Indiana Borough and a stormwater management agreement. He plans to send a separate letter, he said, asking B&L to consider continuing concerns about the alley.

Planners also approved an addition at Indiana Regional Medical Center that will add a new 330-square-foot waiting room to the Medical Arts building, additional parking and a second helipad.

Approval was granted pending submission of a building permit.

After the meeting, Norman Zeimer, IRMC director of facilities management, said that bids are being received and construction could start as soon as next week.

The waiting room will serve patients who are receiving PET scans and is being added to bring that equipment closer to the area where other, similar, procedures are performed.

“It’s exclusively an outpatient service and it’s more closely aligned with the services that we are providing in the medical arts building,” he said. “We’re just grouping all like services together.”

Julie E. Martin is a staff writer for the Indiana Gazette. Among her assignments are coverage of the Apollo-Ridge School and Penns Manor Area school districts and also White Township.
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