UPDATE: Saucon Source has learned that Blair Custom Homes is no longer involved with the project, as was earlier reported to be the case. We apologize for any confusion the error may have caused.
Nearly eight years after plans for it were approved by the Upper Saucon Township Board of Supervisors ground has been broken on a mixed use development that will include residential and retail properties along Rt. 378 between Saucon Valley and Colesville roads.
Construction of the 70-acre Old Saucon development just south of the Upper-Lower Saucon Township boundary apparently began recently and without fanfare.
On Friday, Upper Saucon Township Director of Community and Economic Development Patricia Lang confirmed that the earth moving now taking place at Saucon Valley Road and Rt. 378 is part of the project’s first phase.
In March 2013, after supervisors approved that phase–which includes 33 age-restricted single-family homes–Hellertown-Lower Saucon Patch reported that a groundbreaking was imminent.
For reasons that are unclear, it would be nearly six-and-a-half years until work began.
Prior to the Phase I approval, some residents of the neighborhoods along Colesville Road in expressed concerns to Lower Saucon Township officials about the amount of traffic the age-restricted community and accompanying retail properties would generate, as well as the need for a traffic light at Rt. 378 and Colesville Road.
A preliminary master plan for Old Saucon dated Jan. 4, 2011 shows a long, narrow development paralleling Rt. 378, with the entrance to its core commercial component centered across from where Rt. 378 intersects with Center Valley Parkway.
“Food market” and “drug store” are two of the possible retail uses identified on the plan.
The northernmost section of the property will be built out with 16 single family homes, although they will not be directly adjacent to Colesville Road, according to the 2011 plan by Van Cleef Engineering Associates.
The master plan also lists the following amenities and features for Old Saucon:
- Home association
- Private roads
- Availability of a variety of housing types and designs
- Convenient gateway to Village Center
- Conservation design and open space preservation
- Public water, sewer and natural gas
- Easy access to Interstate 78
- Close to the Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley and Stabler Corporate Center
- Adjacent to Saucon Valley Country Club
- Walking/Biking trails
- Age qualified for a solution to downsizing
“In keeping with the former agricultural use of the area the theme and identity of ‘Old Saucon’ is to provide several sizes and types of dwellings with black and white traditional facades and lot improvements,” a description printed on the plan states. “From luxury twins and single family homes, residents will have options for living within a new sustainable community focused on true neighborhood qualities of yesterday. … Attention to detail at every turn will give ‘Old Saucon’ a fresh new identity with reflection to the past. The future homeowners will be age targeted and offered a location that is in close proximity to recreation and lifestyle opportunities such as a pedestrian bike and walking trail, country clubs, shopping, cultural venues and employment.”
Upper Saucon Township has seen a proliferation of development recently, however much of what is under construction or proposed for the future has been centered along or nearer to the Rt. 309 corridor.
In April, more than a hundred residents packed a special meeting of township supervisors to protest a proposal by Kay Builders to construct a large residential and retail development at Rt. 309 and E. Valley Road.
The township is now mounting a defense to a curative amendment challenge to its zoning ordinance brought by Kay Builders, which now plans to construct truck terminals–a permitted conditional use–on the 119-acre property, the Morning Call reported in July.