Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Golf Course Yields to Development Clearing of Holly Hill Begins to Make Way for Houses, Townhouses

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Golf Course Yields to Development Clearing of Holly Hill Begins to Make Way for Houses, Townhouses

Article excerpt

With bulldozers starting to clear the forest behind him, Charley Weller looked out sadly at the Holly Hill Golf Course in Baldwin Borough, which soon will be developed into a subdivision.

"People run dogs through here. There are hundreds of deer. I sometimes see 30 or 40 at a time," said Weller, the groundskeeper for the Holly Hill Inn, which no longer is taking reservations for weddings and anniversary parties in anticipation of its closing early this summer.

"I feel so bad about this. There is so much nature," said Weller, who lives in Arlington Heights, but liked to hike around the 55.77- acre golf course, which soon will be a major development of single- family houses and townhouses.

In 2002, the Holly Hill Land Development Co. paid $910,000 for the golf course, plus $300,000 for an apartment building on Towervue Drive, according to public records.

The company's planned residential development, with 72 single- family houses and 146 townhouses, has met with stiff opposition.

Neighbors formed the Baldwin Borough Citizens Alliance and filed suit to stop the development, which will turn three dead-end streets into a circle and will pour traffic from the new development into their quiet neighborhood.

The citizens' group lost in county court but appealed to Commonwealth Court, where a settlement with developers was reached in January.

Last week, several bulldozers started clearing the land.

"We are not dreaming anymore that we can stop this," said Alexander Denmarsh, of Michael Drive, a member of the neighborhood group.

Paul Pieffer, vice president of Holly Hill Development, said preliminary construction probably would begin next month. Pieffer said he would be meeting with people in the neighborhood to keep them apprised about plans.

"We will talk about minimizing inconvenience," Pieffer said.

Holly Hill Development will be putting in the streets and building a community center and swimming pool. Ryan Homes will build the houses. …

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