Builders push 486-home plan in Amity Twp. 
Article as it appeared online in the Reading Eagle, Oct., 2005.

Age restrictions for part of the community would lessen the burden on schools, developers say. A supervisor wants fewer houses but says he is keeping an open mind. 

By Phoebe Sweet 
Reading Eagle 

Developers who hope to build 486 homes in Amity Township say the private and partially age-restricted community would have no negatives. 

The development is proposed on the roughly 117-acre Schmale property between Old Swede and Pine Forge roads. 
It would generate tax revenue for the Daniel Boone School District and the township without straining community resources or putting many children in the schools, the developers said. 

Representatives of Greystone Capital Partners of Paoli, Chester County, went before the township's planning commission and supervisors in September to present their planned residential development, or PRD. 
The development would have 230 single-family, age-restricted homes and 256 town houses. 
It would require about 15 variances. 

Kenneth Johnson and Erik P. Hugus of Greystone said the development they would be allowed to build without those variances so-called by-right would have a more negative impact on the township and school district. 
If supervisors reject the planned development, Greystone said the company could go ahead with one of two by-right plans: 
203 single-family homes of about 4,000 square feet, double the size of the PRD homes. 
302 single-family and duplex homes. 

Johnson said the by-right plans would create more traffic and cost the school district more than the PRD. 
"The thing speaks for itself on financial impact reports," Johnson said in a telephone interview. 
Johnson and Hugus said building single-family homes for people 55 or older and town houses without age restrictions would reduce the number of children in the development and Boone schools. 
Hugus, who lives in the township, told supervisors that either by-right plan could cost the school district up to $500,000, while the PRD could generate up to $900,000 in revenue. 

Hugus said the PRD would have fewer than half the number of children as either by-right plan. 

David H. Robbins, district superintendent, prefers the PRD plan to either of the other two, which would attract families with children. 
"If you have half the houses in age-restricted, you don't have the students, plus you have the revenue," Robbins said. "I am looking at less impact on the district." 

Richard L. Gokey, a supervisor and planning commission member, also thinks a planned development could work for the township. 

But he wants to see fewer units and more open space in the plan. 
"It is a positive to the school system as far as property taxes," Gokey said. "They don't put kids in the school, but they do pay property taxes. 
"As far as I am concerned, I am still open-minded and more than willing to listen to proposals." 
Greystone representatives said they won't file paperwork with Amity until they have a sense from supervisors and planners which plan the township prefers. 

If approved as proposed, the PRD would have private roads maintained by the development, which could be gated. 
It would have a community center and walking trails and could contain some commercial space. Developers plan to preserve the Schmale farmhouse. 
The town houses and single-family homes would have two or three bedrooms. 
The single-family homes would be 2,200 to 2,300 square feet. No size was available for the town houses. 
Johnson declined to give a price range. 

Contact reporter Phoebe Sweet at 610-371-5014 or

Development options
Greystone Capital Partners, Paoli, Chester County, wants to build a planned residential development, or PRD, in Amity Township. Company officials said it would be better for the area than a development of large single-family homes. 

The PRD would include more units than a traditional development but age restrictions would mean fewer children so less of an impact on Daniel Boone schools and other services they said. 

The PRD plan 
230 single-family homes for residents 55 and older. 
256 town houses. 
About 2,600 average weekly vehicle trips. 
About 140 children. 
An estimated $1.96 million yearly gain for the township and school district. 

A traditional plan 
230 single-family homes or 302 single and twin homes. 
About 2,230 average weekly vehicle trips. 
About 310 children. 
An estimated $635,000 yearly gain for the township and school district. 
Source: Greystone Capital Partners