Ridge Farm concerns residents
South Whitehall residents filled Springhouse Middle School’s auditorium Sept. 16 as representatives of Ridge Farm presented their latest request to the planning commission for conditional approval.
Developer Kay Builders submitted its original conditional use application in April 2017 and has had several public meetings since then in which residents expressed disapproval.
The project proposes development on the north and south sides of Huckleberry Ridge and the east and west sides of Cedar Crest Boulevard between Walbert Avenue and Huckleberry Road.
Planner Gregg Adams, of the township’s department of community development, reported the number of housing units in Ridge Farm has increased from 741, in earlier designs, to 780 now.
In addition to residential uses, Ridge Farm also includes commercial and restaurant space, a medical office building, community clubhouse, and 44 acres of open space.
Sixteen acres of active open space are situated near the top of the ridge for use by residents. The remainder are spread out along the edges and streets of the community.
Additional houses on the west side of Cedar Crest Boulevard are not included in the residential tally as they are not part of the conditional use request.
Adams noted the north-south road previously shown in the development has been converted to a walking trail.
The street was eliminated due to the steep grade of the hillside and safety concerns.
Engineer Jason Englehardt said 60 percent of the housing consists of apartments, 20 percent of the buildings are doubles, and 20 percent are singles.
Of the total residences, 170 are age restricted.
William Ginder, who owns a kitchen business along Walbert Avenue commented.
“This is so out of proportion and so huge,” Ginder said. “They could have scaled it down to make it more liveable.”
Sharon Hubler expressed concerns for wildlife and the environment. She compared the loss of nature to the situation in the Amazon rain forest.
“This farm is the ‘lungs’ of South Whitehall,” Hubler said. “It absolutely doesn’t fit into South Whitehall.
“This disaster is going to kill South Whitehall with traffic and impact on the schools. It’s nuts.”