Valley Green Golf & Country Club in parts of Unity and Hempfield township closed at the end of 2019, but now a potential buyer is looking to purchase 260 acres of the former 18-hole course with plans to develop residential housing.

The Unity Township Planning Commission on Tuesday recommended approval to rezone a little over 116 acres of the Unity Township side of the property from agricultural (A-1) to suburban residential (R-2).

Donald Tarosky Sr., partner and attorney of Valley Green Westmoreland, LLC, told the planning commission his company has made an agreement of sale to purchase 260 acres of land — 115 acres in Unity — from property owner Valley Green Golf & Country Club, Inc., along Valley Green Road.

Acquiring the zoning change is the first step in Valley Green Westmoreland’s plans to develop residential housing at the site of the former golf course, Tarosky said.

Valley Green Westmoreland is seeking a similar zoning change on the Hempfield Township side, and preliminary approval has been given by the township’s planners.

Tarosky told the planning commission that Valley Green Westmoreland is partnering with Robert W. Shuster’s RWS Development Co. to build single- and multi-family homes on the site of the former golf course.

“He builds great homes,” Tarosky said.

Township Line Run divides Hempfield and Unity within the property, and Tarosky said homes cannot be built within 100 feet of the stream.

Unity Township Supervisors at their Jan. 14 meeting will vote to approve an amendment to rezone the property from agricultural to suburban residential.

Also on Tuesday, planners tabled action on site plans for Marguerite Lake, LLC to build a two-story 32-by-36 foot expansion to its existing building along Marguerite Lake Road which houses Pleasant Unity Supply, as no representative appeared before the planning commission to speak on behalf of the company.

In November, the Unity Township Zoning Hearing Board approved an expansion of non-conforming use to allow Marguerite Lake, LLC to expand its existing enterprise, since the proposed addition exceeds 50% of the existing 80-by-36 foot building — which predates zoning — that is located on a 3.5 acre parcel in an agricultural zone.

In other business, solicitor Gary Falatovich told the planning commission he will send them a list of potential dates to schedule a public hearing to discuss an ordinance which prohibits raising backyard chickens on residential properties smaller than two acres.

The township’s zoning hearing board heard two hours of testimony on the issue on Sept. 22, but the continuation of the hearing has yet to take place. Now, after nearly four months, the hearing will resume at 6 p.m. Jan. 14 and will be accessible via Zoom, Falatovich said.

“We’ve had some difficulties (scheduling) because of the pandemic,” he said.

Also on Tuesday, the planning commission voted to reorganize for 2021, retaining the same officers as the previous year, including Tom Baumann as chairman, Dave Oshnock as vice chairman and Tim Schultheis as secretary. Falatovich was also reappointed as solicitor.

Planners also set meeting dates for 2021, with all meetings to be held at 7 p.m. the first Tuesday of the month in the township municipal building, 154 Beatty County Road.

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