Neighbors not happy over Haws Lane townhome plans

by Barbara Sherf
Posted 6/2/21

The question now is whether it turns into a 107-unit assisted living facility or luxury townhomes.    

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Neighbors not happy over Haws Lane townhome plans

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Haws Lane neighbors met with the MEH Investment Company at a packed public meeting Tuesday night, May 25, to discuss a new proposal for the five-acre wooded property located roughly between Harston Hall and the Erdenheim Elementary school in Springfield Township.    

MEH President and native son Brian Halligan, noted that he had offered the parcel to the township and school district and neither party was interested in it. 

So the question now is whether it turns into a 107-unit assisted living facility or luxury townhomes.    

The parcel is currently zoned institutional, and Halligan said three parties are interested in turning it into assisted living.  But with neighbors voicing concerns, he opted to pursue the 41-unit townhome development.  that would be 35-feet from the residential street and 35-feet tall.  The plan would need a zoning change to a townhouse use.

“Change is hard and it gets people going, but at the end of the day we take a thoughtful approach,” Halligan said.

Under the new plan, an arborist would determine which mature trees would stay on the property and which would be replaced. 

Liz Lee, a nearby resident, was not pleased with either project.

“I feel like they are asking the community to suck it up so they can make a profit and that they are not really community oriented,” Lee said after he two hour meeting held at the Flourtown Country Club. 

For his part, Halligan was pleased with the meeting. 

“There was a lot of good feedback, and I’m sensing people would rather see townhouses versus an institutional setting,” he said. 

According to Christopher R. Canavan of WBHomesInc., the properties would sell for between $580,000 and $600,000.  The three-bedroom, 2.5 bath homes would have a bonus room and pedestrian path to the nearby school. 

As for parking, each unit would have two spots in front of their garage and 24 additional spots on the street. 

Cecilia Dougherty was opposed to the tree removal in the heavily forested area at 380-420 Haws Lane.

“My main opposition is that quite a few trees will come down, and we need trees,” she said.  “Trees are a large way to mitigate climate change.  To take down that many trees and make a lot of money is not something I approve of.”

Canavan said the goal would be to keep a large swath of trees in the rear of the property. 

“It will bring about unnecessary traffic and it’s too close to the school,” Margie Forgione, who lives on Suffolk Street.

Neighbor Maureen Baskin said she would prefer not to see a big development among their single-family homes. 

“It’s across from my daughter’s school and I would like to keep it a residential neighborhood with single family homes.”

Halligan said it would not make sense financially to build single family homes on the site. 

A Zoom meeting will be held on June 1 at 7 p.m. arranged by the Board of Commissioners through the Township Planning Commission.  A link is on the township website, springfieldmontco.org.

Correspondent Barbara Sherf can be reached at www.communicationspro.com.

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