South Park residents start petition to prevent development disrupting buffalo herd home

SOUTH PARK TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Nearly two dozen buffalos call this space home, and protecting them is one of the main reasons why residents don’t want development anywhere near an area of South Park.

But the landowner says it’s time to sell.

“We have been paying taxes on it for 44 years, and it is time to let it go,” said the landowner, Gary Carmen.

Carmen’s family has owned nearly 6o acres of land adjacent to South Park since the 70s.

“We have had a lot of people trespassing. They are riding their horses and trail bikes on it, and they feel not a single tree should be cut down,” said Carmen.

Developers agreed to build roughly 300 townhomes on the land owned by Carmen, but nearby residents opposed it.

“We are asking them if we can balance green space with development, and as I am sure you are aware once these prestige areas are gone, they are gone,” said Carolyn Savikas.

Creating a petition, residents cited concerns about higher taxes, increased traffic, disturbing the buffalo, and losing green space. So, developers opted to take the townhomes off the table but still plan to move forward with the sale.

“Believe me, the over 3,000 people that signed this petition against developing this area would be more than glad to participate, and put our money where our mouth is,” said Savikas.

Carmen said he’d be more than happy to sell the property to residents, but for a fair price.

“If they would have come through with a fair price upfront, we would have sold it. You are not going to sell your house for $100,000 when it’s worth $200,000,” said Carmen.

Currently, the land is classified as R-2, which allows for the development of single-family homes.

Developers plan to move forward with roughly 150 new single-family homes.

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