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Laurel Hills development given final approval

From left, Buffalo Township manager Rich Hill, township secretary Janice Humes-Zubrin and Supervisor Michael Oehling deliberate at a board of supervisors meeting on Wednesday night, June 12. William Pitts/Butler Eagle
Concerns remain, including parking spaces

BUFFALO TWP — Supervisors gave final approval to the proposed Laurel Hills housing development that would be built along South Pike Road in Buffalo Township.

The most recent plans for Laurel Hills call for 103 housing units — 62 single-family lots and 41 townhomes — that would be constructed on a combined 29.3 acres of land.

Despite the approval, some supervisors and one member of the township’s planning commission brought up concerns about the plans for Laurel Hills. These included the housing development’s plans for guest parking, as well as its plans for entering and exiting.

According to Buffalo Township manager Rich Hill, the township’s ordinance requires housing developments to provide parking spaces for guests who may be visiting. The developers, Laurel Hills Partners, are providing 11 guest parking spaces. However, some of these require parallel parking in front of homes.

“The parking situation with this particular plan is different than anything else we've ever dealt with,” said Grant McConnell, chairman of the planning commission.

McConnell expressed concern that the parallel parking spaces could lead to residents improperly using the guest spaces for themselves.

“Residents may want to squat those spots,” McConnell said. “It becomes like a third parking spot because it’s right in front of their home.”

McConnell also brought up concerns regarding how residents would enter and exist the development. The most recent plans call for a separate one-lane entrance into and exit from the property.

The township is now requesting that the developers make the exit onto Route 356 a two-lane road, with one lane allowing for left turns and the other allowing for right turns.

“There would be one way in and then two ways out,” Hill said. “We're asking them for a second outlane so people going south on 356 can go in the right-hand lane and make a right out of there instead of waiting behind the traffic that wants to make a left.”

The developers still need to acquire a highway occupancy permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to accept traffic from Route 356/South Pike Road.

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