Big Elk development not extinct in Penn Township
By Steven Hoffman
words brought about a moment of déjà vu at Penn Township’s June 7
Board of Supervisors meeting: Big Elk.
The original plans for a 55-plus community date back to 2008 with Big Elk, LLC. The group was before the board several times regarding their vision for the development. When that plan never came to fruition, potential buyers had the plan amended in 2016. That also fell through, and now a new developer is planning to resurrect the project, with a potential settlement in early September.
Big Elk is a 104.45-acre parcel on Baltimore Pike, adjacent to Jennersville Hospital.
The newest group hoping to develop it outlined their plans in an informal presentation to the supervisors. Council for Big Elk, Brian Nagle, emphasized four points that are important to his group in making the development a success: Developing a phasing plan, posting financial security by phase, working on eliminating one of the two accesses to Baltimore Pike, and a protection period of 18 months to complete each of the three phases.
Don Sample went into a few more specifics about the development, noting, “The infrastructure stands alone for each phase. If for some reason you don’t go to Phase II, you still have complete infrastructure in place.”
The homes, to be constructed by Ryan Homes, will be a combination of twins priced in the mid- to high-$200,000 range, and singles starting at $400,000. The first phase would have a mix of twins and singles totaling 64 units. The second phase would also be a mix with 90 units, and the third phase would be 50 single-family homes. In addition to the 204 homes, a 4,500-square-foot clubhouse/community center will be built, and there will be an area for an emergency services building.
Chairman of the Board, Curtis Mason, suggested they submit the plan in writing.
In other business, the supervisors repealed the “Flex Ordinance.” When written, the idea was to allow a warehouse to be divided for different uses. But as chairman of the Planning Commission, Skip McGrew, explained, “The ordinance was flawed, as it didn’t limit the uses.”
Dennis Melton addressed the board on behalf of Star Roses. The longtime Penn Township business wants to expand some of their greenhouse structures, with the additional square footage totaling around 5,000 square feet.
“We want to do everything completely right, by the book; we just want to simplify it,” Melton told the supervisors. Since the project is small, he asked to bypass the land development process.
McGrew said the Planning Commission had reviewed the case and he said, “It would be my recommendation that you do not wave the land development process. You still have to go through the steps and inspections. It won’t change the time frame. There is no advantage to bypassing it. I would urge you not to do so.”
The board granted Star Roses the waiver from land development, but emphasized that they must comply with all stormwater management regulations.