Developer Proposes Transformation Of Willow Brook Farms Property

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A project was presented to Allen Township supervisors at their July 13 meeting that would transform the current state of Willow Brook Farms in the township, repurposing historical structures to creating a village-like “hamlet” that would be surrounded by new residential units in Allen Township, Northampton Borough and North Catasauqua Borough.

On behalf of the Fuller Family Trust, Robert Dwyer, a real estate agent with Land Trust Properties Inc., presented the supervisors with a master plan that would call for a 50 percent increase in the amount of housing units in the township.  

The project, which was only a presentation and not an accepted plan, proposes development that would buffer the open space core of the development, which Dwyer continually referred to as a “hamlet,” by constructing apartments and townhouses in the surrounding area, which would range from two stories to three stories depending on location.

Between two-story apartments, three-story apartments and three-story townhouses, the project would call for 500 housing units along Willow Brook Road, according to Dwyer.

Dwyer said that there would be a total of “700 units of product in Allen Township.”

The large nature of the project, in regard to both structure size and housing density, concerned some on the board, particularly Chairman Larry Oberly, who did not view a 50 percent increase in housing stock favorably.

“The current housing stock in the township is 1,200you’re proposing 700. That makes me choke,” he said.

Dale Hassler, who serves as both a township supervisor and as the township’s fire chief, was strongly opposed the the idea of having three-story buildings within the township, due to potential fire concerns.

“No higher than two stories as far as I’m concerned. I will not go higher than two stories,” he said.

The project would reduce the size of the Willow Brook golf course to nine holes. It would also repurpose barns into a pro shop with a grill and a clubhouse. The property’s renowned equestrian center would also be preserved.

According to the plan presented to the supervisors, an assisted living facility is also being proposed along West Bullshead Road.

Representatives of the Fuller Trust would need to have an overlay zoning district approved by the township to be able to make the project a reality.

Jim Constantine, who specializes in urban design projects, said the project could serve as a “focal point” to create something that’s unique in the township.

“It’s a great piece of land,” he said. “You have history.”

Dwyer concurred, believing that the finished product could prove to be a strong asset for Allen Township.  

“It will be a phenomenal setting and a real asset to the township, I think,” he said.

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