Etna Township trustees on April 19 postponed a decision on an 86-acre development along state Route 310, between the Cameron Chase and Cumberland Trail subdivisions.

Etna Township trustees on April 19 postponed a decision on an 86-acre development along state Route 310, between the Cameron Chase and Cumberland Trail subdivisions.

They plan to revisit the issue May 3.

"They are looking for a couple of tweaks to the plan to ensure the issue of age restrictions," said zoning administrator Chris Harkness. "The prosecutor's office has had some questions on our being able to enforce the text that restricts residential uses to age 55 and older. The question is whether we can enforce it when the plan calls for deed restrictions."

The applicant has agreed to establish deed restrictions now, so that when the text is approved, the deed restrictions will be in effect, rather than merely a future obligation that might have to be tested in court.

The trustees also agreed to allow an alternative use of the residential portion of the development to allow single-family homes at a density of one home per acre.

Harkness said that the single-family homes would not have age restrictions.

"My assumption is it will not apply," Harkness said. "My understanding is the intent is only to cover the condos. At one unit per acre, we do not have the same concerns that we do at four units per acre."

Harkness said the initial application for the development included single-family condominiums at four units per acre, but that the single-family units were dropped in favor of having only age-restricted units at four units per acre.

One reason for the option is that the real-estate market could change, supporting one style of development but not another, Harkness said.

"If something were to happen and they could not develop the condos, they are not profitable or marketable any more, then they have the option to develop the single-family units, but at a much lower density," Harkness said.

The proposal covers land both east and west of Route 310 and would require construction of access roads that eventually would require a traffic signal.

Attorney Connie Klema, on behalf of JBW properties, submitted the application in January. The land is zoned for agricultural use. The proposal calls for retail development on the west of Route 310 and professional office development on the east of Route 310, with residential development behind each.

The plans call for a connecting roadway to Cameron Chase that would allow for the residential developments to have access to each other but no connection to Cumberland Trail.

The development is being approved as a "planned-unit development," which is common in municipalities but less common in townships. Both developers and governments usually prefer the option because of its flexibility. Under traditional straight zoning, requirements such as lot size and setbacks are clear and fixed and apply throughout the zoning area. In planned-unit development zoning, requirements could be customized for various purposes and special conditions could be attached.