The Reality that is Re-Zoning – The Bear Farm

Bear Farm
Potential Housing Development location on McAllister Church Road

The Bear Farm is 177.58 acres (Property Mapper).  The majority of the property is zoned Agricultural.  It appears the property is currently being used for agricultural purposes.   The picture shows the part of the property that is currently zoned residential.  This would also be the access to McAllister Church Road for the proposed development.   An attorney and engineer have been representing the land owner with the re-zoning request and speaking about the submitted plan.   Here is the information submitted to the Cumberland county (first 7 pages, this is 234 page file).  The plan shows a nice mix of about 200 homes ranging from Townhouses to Farmettes along with recreation areas and trails.  A big selling point for the project is to bring the Cumberland County Rail Trail on to the property to extend the trail toward Newville.  The plan presented to West Pennsboro Township discussed the extension of water and sewer across the Alexander Spring from Carlisle.

All of this is sounds good until you realize that the information submitted was actually just a marketing tool for re-zoning purposes.  The reality could be much different.  After the re-zoning happens there is no guarantee any of the presented plan would be used.  If the property is re-zoned I could see 787 townhouses on the site under the current zoning rules.  If you assume 2 cars per house that could be over 1,500 cars accessing Barnstable Road.

If rezoned the property will go up for sale and the purchaser will have no obligation to do any of the things that were presented.  Basically you need to re-zone the property to see what can happen if you re-zone the property.

I found it very interesting that after two West Pennsboro Township meetings it was brought up at the Cumberland County meeting that the Township is interested in extending utilities to the proposed re-zoned area.  This concern was raised at the Township Planning meeting by a neighbor to the property.  The reply was utilities would be brought in for the development and the proximity would not require current residents to hookup.  This was all based on the assumption that utilities would come in from Carlisle and not Plainfield.  This change could have a huge impact on the current residents of the township if people are forced to hookup to the utilities.

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