CHERRY HILL — CHERRY HILL - One of the largest residential developments ever proposed for Cecil County has gotten larger, and the builder is looking at Harford and Frederick counties for similar projects.
A New Jersey company, which had proposed building 922 residential units on a 146-acre peach orchard about 10 miles outside Elkton, disclosed Friday that it has acquired an additional 31 acres adjacent to its original site and has proposed another 56 housing units and a commercial district.
With the exception of 300 apartments, the development would be limited to buyers age 55 or older, and it would bar children under 18 from living there, according to officials of Windsor Development Co. of Freehold, N.J.
The smaller project stirred opposition about a week earlier from residents of rural Cherry Hill, who said it would destroy the character of their neighborhood, where single-family homes sit on half-acre, 1-acre and 5-acre lots.
The revised proposal has done nothing to ease the concerns of area residents.
'It doesn't fit'
"This is ridiculous," said Lindsie Carter, founder of the community group CHARGE - Cherry Hill Alliance for Responsible Growth and Expansion. She said the expanded project makes even less sense than the original plan. "They would be putting a city in our rural community. It doesn't fit with what's around it."
David Meiskin of Windsor said he understands that neighbors want the peach orchard to remain a peach orchard, but he said the property, which is zoned for the maximum number of homes allowed per acre in Cecil County, will eventually be developed.
He said he believes that Windsor's proposal to build 978 residential units will be good for the area and will be a boost to the economic growth of the county.
The proposal, which was submitted to the Cecil County Planning Department on Wednesday, calls for 100 single-family homes, 196 townhouses, 326 condominiums, 300 apartments and 56 duplex houses.
The 56 duplex houses are the additions to the earlier proposal, and they would be on the new property, which fronts Route 213, Singerly Road.
Meiskin said the company has built about a dozen similar adult communities in New Jersey that are marketed toward affluent baby boomers nearing retirement.
He said the company has also been looking at sites in Harford County for an adult community. He declined to identify any potential locations. He said he has tried to purchase property in Frederick County, but the initial efforts were unsuccessful.
Concerning its plans for Cecil County, Meiskin said the revised proposal should work better than the smaller project and have less impact on the area.
He said the main entrance would be off of Route 213, as opposed to the much narrower Black Snake Road.
There would be another access to the property entry point off of Leeds Road, before reaching Black Snake Road, and a back entrance off Black Snake.
Meiskin said that making it an adult community would reduce the flow of traffic in the regionreduce the anticipated expected traffic. He said people living in adult communities make only one-third as many car trips a day as residents in conventional single-family homes. "And," he added, "they typically travel during off-peak hours."
By limiting the age of residents, Meiskin said, the proposal would reduce the burden on schools.
"Sure," he said, "kids under 18 will be allowed to visit their grandparents, t. They can't live there. That will be spelled out clearly in the bylaws" of the community. He said children under younger than 18 could be allowed to visit for up to 90 days a year.
Water and sewerage have been are other issues raised by concerned neighbors, who worry that pumping so much more water from the ground could have an adverse impact on their wells.
Meiskin said the company is looking at several options, including the building of a water plant onsite and having water piped in from outside the community. He said his company would also consider building its own sewage treatment plant.
First, Meiskin said, the company needs has to determine the exact number of housing units that will be included in the development before deciding on which options to pursue regarding water and sewer water and sewer options to pursue. He called the plan submitted to the county Planning Department a preliminary proposal that could be changed as the project moves forward.
Concerning the project's economic impact on the region, Meiskin said the people targeted as a market for the homes "have money to spend." He estimated that they would could have about $25 million a year in disposable income and said,."That's a lot of money to be pumped into the Elkton area."