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Campus Heights student housing project work on hold; at least one resident remains

By Laura Hayes

laurahayes@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 6/19/19

Concerns — including if one resident still living on the site of the future phase three of the Campus Heights Village would have uninterrupted access to their home and utilities — led the …

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Campus Heights student housing project work on hold; at least one resident remains

Posted

Concerns — including if one resident still living on the site of the future phase three of the Campus Heights Village would have uninterrupted access to their home and utilities — led the Lower Swatara Board of Commissioners to table an agreement that would have allowed site work to begin on the future Penn State Harrisburg student housing.

The Campus Heights plan was approved in October. Under the plan, 32 parcels will be combined into one property on which 14 student housing buildings totaling 84 units will be constructed.

This new phase of Campus Heights will be located to the south of Dauphin Street and bordered by North Lawrence Street to the west and the township line to the east.

During the June 5 meeting, Campus Heights officials asked the board to approve a site work agreement that would include removing the homes, stabilizing the site, and installing some stormwater management features. This will include the bypass system to address North Wood Street flooding.

However, commissioners expressed concerns after they were told that one resident was still living at the corner of Wood and Dauphin streets, and three of the homes still had items in them.

Matt Genesio, co-owner of College Town Communities, said the homes were on the northern part of the site and the work would be on the southern part.

“They’re going to be out before we even come close to touching that portion of the site,” he said.

Everyone would be out by June 24, he said.

According to township Planning and Zoning Coordinator Ann Hursh, Campus Heights will provide a letter of credit for the site work. However, a wrong version of the agreement was printed for commissioners that didn’t have all necessary information, including how much credit would be posted.

Commissioner Ron Paul asked that the agreement be put on the agenda for today’s 7 p.m. meeting, until “things are squared away.”

Paul asked for language saying that residents’ utilities and access would not be impeded to be added to the agreement.

According to Campus Heights’ attorney Ambrose Heinz, Campus Heights owns all of the homes.

According to the Dauphin County Recorder of Deeds, 16 deeds have been transferred to Campus Heights Associates 3 LLC for a total of $5,225,000. One deed for a property in the 300 block of Dauphin hadn’t transferred as of Tuesday, but Genesio confirmed that they were planning on buying it and said it may be a delay in the recording process. 

Hursh said they could start demolition without the approval.

Paul said he was concerned about if the person still living there would be able to get in and out of their residence and be able to use their utilities. Genesio said they’ve been working with the person and the utility companies on what they could and could not disconnect.

Residents would be able to use North Lawrence Street, he said.

“Before we start messing around with ripping the road up and putting ponds in and cross pipes, is your time going to be spent demo-ing the houses until that is a hundred percent vacated? All the properties? Does that work for you guys?” Paul asked.

“Not really,” Genesio said. “That’s why we’re here. In essence the project would be delayed starting. We don’t want to mobilize a full site crew just to knock down some houses. That would be done in a day and a half.”

Genesio said he committed to the resident that their utilities and access would not be interrupted.

After the boundaries of the site are stabilized and fenced in, demolition would begin. Stormwater management work along North Wood would start next. Genesio estimated it would take two weeks.

Plans called for the runoff water to be conveyed through a pipe along North Wood Street. Commissioner Chris DeHart asked if the stormwater work would cause any access issues for the residents on North Wood Street.

Genesio said the stormwater work would be on the west side of the street, and the work doesn’t cross over to the east side of the street until West High Street.