Editor's Note: This story was last updated at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Peters Township Council approved 4-2 Monday, chairman Robert Atkison and council President Robert Lewis dissenting, a request by Ted Taylor, III to permit reduced setbacks on certain lots in the Whispering Pines plan with the condition that the Berry Lane interconnection be eliminated.
The plan was modified to use 35-foot setbacks on 13 lots, 18 lots with full 50-foot setbacks and eight lots with various setbacks.
Taylor told council the setbacks were decided with the homeowner and his/her desired amenities in mind, i.e. three-car garages and more backyard space for porches, decks, pools, play sets, etc.—the typography also being a factor.
The justification is that the reduced setbacks would preserve natural woodlands, drainage ways and steep slopes, he said at a previous meeting.
Potential traffic concerns caused Peters residents—living in The Woodlands neighborhood, and on or near Bebout, Boyer and Bower Hill roads, and Walnut Drive—to fill council chambers Monday.
Previous discussion took place at a May 10 planning commission meeting where Taylor proposed Whispering Pines to be accessed at two locations—the first access point via Boyer Road (traffic restricted from turning left) and the second via Berry Lane, which was eliminated by council last night—where Taylor and concerned residents came to a consensus.
At the start of the meeting, residents voiced concerns about connecting Whispering Pines and The Woodlands in fear of the neighborhoods developing into a “cut-through,” especially for parents commuting to and from Bower Hill Elementary.
One woman said she felt the increased traffic would devalue her home and the surrounding property, and put her children’s—and the neighborhood children’s—safety at risk.
Walnut Drive resident Anthony Castalone, also a traffic engineer by profession, proposed that a traffic study be done and a signal be installed as part of the plan’s development.
Trans Associates CEO Mark Magalotti said the approximately 40 single-family homes in The Woodlands only meet 15 percent of the threshold necessary and that site distance is adequate at Bebout and Boyer roads.
Residents questioned why the plan’s entrance and exit couldn’t directly connect to Bebout Road in order to alleviate The Woodlands from becoming a “super highway.”
“We are challenged by typography,” voiced a site designer.
There are essentially 142 homes a part of this process.