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Another green space versus development dispute erupts

7/14/2014 | Real Estate Blog

While South Philly prepares to welcome the new Pier 68, Springfield Township has been gearing up for an argument. The Montgomery County community is home to the Tecce Tract, a 42-acre plot that was part of a large family estate. The owner sees an opportunity for development. His neighbors see an opportunity for more green space.

The development would include an assisted living facility and a cluster of age-restricted homes. Opposition to the project — neighbors along with environmental and recreational advocates — says that the proposal would add a high-density development to a predominantly residential area. Open space and parkland would be more appropriate.

The land has been vacant for many years. In fact, the owner has been trying to sell the property since 2004. He was reasonably confused by the opposition’s counter-proposal, according to his attorney.

For the neighbors, the best way to settle the dispute is to have the township purchase 30 acres of the parcel — the 30 acres where the housing development would be. The township, however, hasn’t the cash, so the neighbors are asking the owner to hold off for three years while they try to raise the money. The property would then transfer to a conservation trust. If they cannot raise the money — about $2 million, they estimate — then they will step aside so the owner can build the houses.

The owner has not warmed to the proposal and has yet to meet with the group. His attorney, however, questioned the group’s motives at a hearing last month.

We’ll explain more in our next post.

Source: The Inquirer, “Future of estate divides developer and neighbors,” Jessica Parks, July 10, 2014