Hempfield supervisors granted a zoning change this week that could pave the way for residential development on the former Cherry Creek golf course.
The zoning status will change from agricultural to suburban residential for about 100 acres of the golf course, which closed in 2015.
Although site plans for possible future development have not been approved, Greg Hillard, a representative for NVR – the parent company of Ryan Homes, NVHomes and Heartland Homes – suggested that 226 lots could be built on the property. Initial plans show these would include a mix of single-family homes and duplexes.
“We see this community as a drop buyer situation where it’s kind of needed in this community based on our research,” he said. “We are not going to discriminate on the basis of age, but rather for the residences for the elderly, the masters of the first floor. The clubhouse will remain in the community. We will keep some of the existing ponds for walking trails.
If plans are approved, the site developer would be Braddock-based MSD – Cherry Creek, LLC.
Any plans for future development of the property must first be approved by the township planning commission before being presented to the supervisors.
While Monday’s vote only rezoned the property, several community members expressed concerns about the potential development that could follow.
“My objection is to the traffic and the number of houses being built,” said Phil Sleber, 39. “You mentioned access to Simpson Road, which I live on. It’s barely wide enough for two vehicles and I don’t see why you would want to increase traffic there when I can’t keep a box letters for more than two years because of the way people roll over it.
He questioned why the development was necessary when supervisors recently approved a similar zoning change to the former Valley Green Golf & Country Club last year. The zoning change from agriculture to suburban residence impacted 144 acres in Hempfield. Unit supervisors made an identical change on the 116-acre section of the course in their township.
Other questions focused on water runoff and how development might impact the value of homes surrounding the community.
The Cherry Creek Golf Course, located near the campus of Westmoreland County Community College, opened in the mid-1990s and featured the Birdies Grill and Sports Pub restaurant.
The course was eventually renamed Scenic Links of Westmoreland and changed hands in January 2015, when it was purchased by Mark Allison for $1.35 million. The course closed a year later due to significant losses, Allison said at the time. Birdies closed in December 2016.
The land is owned and maintained by A&C Property Holdings LLC, of which Allison is the sole member and manager.
A&C Property Holdings agreed to sell part of the property last year, Allison said in February.