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Neighbors and owner at odds over use of Springfield property

We've often written about balancing the traditional look and feel of neighborhoods with the need for change and economic development, and an issue that often comes up in these matters is the preservation of open space. Community members in Springfield Township are at odds with a local property owner who plans to build 35 age-restricted homes that the community says will harm open space, cause traffic problems and lower property values.

The 42-acre swath of land in question is called the Tecce Tract, and the owner has proposed three rezoning ordinances that would allow for the construction of the age-restricted homes, plus an assisted-living facility with 125 units. The Friends of the Springfield Panhandle -- the group that opposes the rezoning -- isn't against the assisted-living facility but does oppose the age-restricted residences, which would be built on 7.11 acres at the back of the property.

Initially, the property owner had planned to develop 52 single-family homes on the Tecce Tract, but after neighbors voiced disapproval, the current plan was proposed as a compromise. At a recent meeting that ended after midnight, an attorney for the property owner stated that 70 full-time jobs would open up at the facility, which is expected to provide $1.33 million in annual tax revenue.

However, the main concern of township residents appears to be the preservation of open space. The residents have asked the zoning board to delay the project for three years and allow the residents to raise money to purchase four lots at the back of the property.

After hearing both sides, the zoning board decided to reexamine matters and hold another meeting on July 9.

Much is at stake in community real estate disputes. If you ever find yourself seeking to rezone or block rezoning of residential or commercial property, then it is crucial that you have a real estate attorney with experience in negotiating for favorable outcomes.

Source: Chestnut Hill Local, "No decision after 4-hour meeting on Tecce Tract," Kevin Dicciani, June 16, 2014

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