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New village-style development awaits initial OK in Susquehanna Twp.

A village-style development with houses, shops, offices and more in Susquehanna Township may finally be getting off the ground after three years in the planning process.

The Susquehanna Twp. Planning and Zoning Commission recommended adoption of zoning code amendments that would allow construction of the development. The Susquehanna Twp. Board of Commissioners will set a hearing date for the proposed land use amendments at their Oct. 13 meeting.

“Folks are interested in the development proposal, but we’re really in the early phases of the process at this point,” said township manager David W. Kratzer, Jr.

The mixed-use development at the corner of Progress Ave. and Linglestown Road is the brainchild of H. Ralph Vartan, CEO of Vartan Group. The plan is to turn 58 acres of undeveloped land into a walkable, village-style community.

The mixed-use development is being planned by the Vartan Group. 

The proposed development utilizes mix-used properties that could include a senior living campus, single-family homes, restaurants, shops, offices and more. The goal is to create a walkable environment.

“There’s a lot of different uses that are possible,” Vartan said. “In planning this site, we’re absolutely planning to make sure there is as good a mix as possible. That’s the key to achieving the project.”

Vartan said the concept of the project revolves around the public spaces — like the the sidewalks and the green spaces. The mixed uses encourage people to use those public spaces.

The proposal would change the land-use zoning district from Business Office Residential to Traditional Neighborhood Development 1.

Kratzer said there may be other tracts of land that could be rezoned TND1 in the future.

Mixed-use zoning districts — similar to the one being proposed — have become popular in communities across the country, Vartan said.

“This style of development has been used for decades across the mid-Atlantic,” Vartan said. “Remarkably, it hasn’t been practiced here, locally. All the people who have been living in it for decades swear by it.”

Vartan said he expects to break ground on the project a year after getting final approval from the board of commissioners. When that will happen, he’s not sure.

Vartan said he also does not yet know how long much time would be needed to complete the project or what types of companies would have space in the development. The project will be in multiple phases, however.

The Susquehanna Twp. Board of Commissioners will set a hearing date for the proposed land use amendments at their Oct. 13 meeting. 

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