Plan Preserves Open Land

Gregory Vellner
New plan preserves open land.Unsplash

Years of wrangling over what to do with Middletown Township, Bucks County, Pa.’s largest and last remaining open space may come to an end with a plan calling for development and preservation of the 168-acre site.

The Stone Meadows Farm tract on Route 413 would see construction of 164 twin homes in a 55-and-older age-restricted development, according to a new proposal by Metropolitan Development Group and its associated builder, Fox Lane Homes.

Middletown Township Manager Stephanie Teoli Kuhls said that under the plan – put forth after township rejection of one calling for single-family homes -- Bucks County officials would put 67 acres under an agriculture preservation easement. The county will pay $2 million to Exra Stone and Stone family members for the easement.

Kuhls said finalization of the deal would end years of controversy and uncertainty about the parcel’s fate, and would instead be a winner for all involved – from area residents concerned the earlier plan would add to traffic congestion, to the developer getting an OK to build, the township seeing its tax base grow and the county preserving open land.

The plan has the 67 acres of open space on the eastern side of the Stone Meadows Farm parcel, according to Joe Morrissey, a principal with Fox Lane. Another 25 acres of open space is on the western front of the tract, he said, and 16 acres open throughout the land.

The developer has said an age-restricted development lowers traffic by 25 to 33 percent compared to a single-family plan, and could increase revenue to the township and Neshaminy School District by as much as $1.5 million because it will not require schooling for about 125 children expected in a single family development.

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As a professional journalist for several years -- reporter, editor, feature writer, columnist -- I handled a range of subjects. Breaking news, investigative series, government action, feature events, and staff feature writer with national entertainment magazine interviewing stars including Tom Selleck, Mel Brooks and Danny DeVito. No matter the topic, certain ingredients are key: truth, facts, objectivity, balance.

Bucks County, PA

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