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One Development May Not Be A School Worry

Pottsgrove Business Administrator David Nester talks Monday with Lower Pottsgrove commissioners

SANATOGA PA – A reported change in marketing tactics by the developer of the Spring Valley Farms residential community, to be built on vacant land bordered by North Pleasant View and Bliem roads in Lower Pottsgrove, may mean the Pottsgrove School District can stop worrying about an influx of future students from families buying homes there.

School District Business Administrator David Nester, who attended the township Board of Commissioners’ meeting Monday (May 1, 2017) to talk about increasing student enrollment, learned developer Brennan Marion of Homsher Hill LLC was considering abandonment of a plan to sell two-story, four-bedroom homes on the site. Instead, township engineering representative Chad Camburn said, Marion intends to create single-floor, two-bedroom houses; adult couples age 50 and older would be targeted buyers.

A district consultant delivered projections during February that suggested the original Spring Valley Farms plan might yield as many as 130 children to attend some or all of Pottsgrove’s five schools. An over-50 homeowner population likely would produce far fewer, if any, students. At the very least, Camburn indicated, “the numbers would go down significantly.”

“We’d certainly encourage that,” Nester said.

“Well, we’ll try and work with you on that,” commissioners’ President Bruce Foltz added. When school taxes rise due to expenses like climbing enrollment, Foltz noted, “everybody’s taxes go up. We’d like to avoid that.”

Camburn, of the township-appointed engineering firm Bursich Associates, after the meeting said Homsher Hill and its home-building affiliate began discussing the possibility of a model change about two months ago. Details of the change, potential selling prices, or a need for further township review if any of the development approved in January were not discussed by the commissioners.

In a report Monday, Camburn told commissioners Bursich last reviewed plans for Spring Valley Farms in March, and was now awaiting revisions and a security cost estimate for the first of several construction phases. Development permits for stream crossing, highway occupancy and water supply usage were pending, according to the report. The firm also worked on a deed restriction requested by the state Department of Environmental Protection for wetlands located on property Homsher Hill is donating to the township for passive recreational use.

The marketing switch is not the first for the developer, which closely tracks buyer needs and demands and adjusts its approach accordingly. When first introduced, Homsher Hill proposed Spring Valley Farms as single-family homes on large lots. The downturn in the real estate market between 2007 and 2009 made that proposal unfeasible, it said.

Then in 2014, it said a revised plan of more clustered homes on fewer acres would target Millennials, adults between the ages of 25 and 34 with between one and two children, two cars, and a desire to move up from what they live in now.

Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ May 1 meeting):

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