Friday, March 11, 2005

I went to the Animal Fair... the birds and the beasts were...

When is a public meeting not a public meeting? When the agenda is changed at the 11th hour of course. An agenda with a list of items to be TABLED (save one - College Park) was published. It included (Conditional Use) Strausser Enterprises' Recreation Center.

More interesting than having this on the agenda though, was that the presentation was NOT exclusively for the Recreation Center Conditional Use. It was the WHOLE darned shooting match. All 25 +/- acres. Yessiree. There it was. Apartments, townhouses, village houses, a senior apartment building, offices, apartments, retail space, apartments, parking, apartments... you get the picture. (The apartments may morph to condominiums we were told.) Between the parking (780 spaces) and buildings (2-4 stories high) the only open (as in porous) space belonged to the private Recreation Center and the Village Square (football field size) and strips of land between the town/village houses and their detached garages. Did I mention apartments? They go above the retail and office space. In an ideal world the people operating the small retail spaces would live above them.

Because of the enormity of this project and the fact that Strausser Enterprises failed to submit a subdivision plan (for the Recreation Center portion), the PC suggested that the Conditional Use Request be withdrawn from consideration at the meeting. If granted, it would restrict the entire 25 acre parcel to the recreation center (in the southeast corner) only. (What a kick it would have been had it been granted.) Apparently the Strausser people have PROMISED (via CONTRACT) the Recreation Center to the new Riverview Estates residents by May 2006. Strausser's attorney refused to withdraw the request. The Forks Planning Commission voted it down. The Township is now the "bad guy" to all new Riverview residents.

In the discussion a resident compared this project to what should be happening in downtown Easton, a place that already has the shell for everything proposed. Although "adaptive reuse" was touted by Strausser Enterprises representative Sal Panto, there was no interest in applying that principle to existing buildings. Instead it will be applied to farm fields. Yessiree again... take that farm field and adaptively reuse it as parking lots and 2-4 story buildings. Panto mentioned a Park & Ride on Winchester Drive too. When questioned by a resident, he said that he was just talking and there would be NO park & ride. The resident remarked how it would help the traffic problems if there was one.

While listing the contributions by Strausser Enterprises to Forks Township, a definite misstatement was made. Panto said that they chose a practice range for their 30 acre parcel over 120 homes. Excuse me. That 30 acres in the FP district could only hold 15 homes at a maximum. We should all be a bit fearful of statements made by someone who offers good concepts like park & ride (and then dismisses them later as just "talking") and false statistics like 120 homes NOT built in the FP. Panto also said that the practice range would be used "primarily" in the day time. Well... what does that mean?

Last thing... the title of this post. Yes, we learned that deer love to frolic in the golf course's sand traps and that many bluebird houses have been put up around the course. Someone should tell the deer not to frolic on the soon-to-be practice range though since it seems to be a prime (employee perq) hunting area.

Joe Nixon (Morning Call 3/11/05) reported on the meeting. He's good. He remained cool and impartial.

7 comments:

It's a FAC2 said...

Is this a joke? We’re trying to build a city on what use to be farm protection land turned into country residental! Leave the businesses on Sullivan trail. Why doesn’t Strausser Enterprises buy the old Laneco and put in his so called “village?” We are good old Forks Township where the people from NY and NJ moved to for some peace and quiet.
Sal, the NY and NJ commuters don’t have the time to frolic in the “village” since they leave for work at 5:30 A.M. and return home at 7;00 or 8:00 P.M.. They moved here to escape the city environment. If the city environment is what they want, there is always downtown Easton or the new Town Centre. Let’s keep the country in country residential.

mulligan said...

Are you sure he he said bluebird houses,I heard he said hummerbird houses.

Townshipper said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Townshipper said...

Duh... maybe you are right Mulligan. Maybe I misheard. I'm just choked up with the idea of commuters frolicking aren't you?

A Forks Resident said...

I can't wait to learn how the presentation is done tonight at the Board of Supervisors meeting. What does Strausser Enterprises really want? Do they really think that Forks will rally behind a proposal this dense? So many questions... so little time.

myopinion said...

I was intrigued with all of the things being said on this site so I attended the meeting last night and was pleasantly surprised. The presentation was exceptional, the concept a delightful change to what we have in the township and found many in the audience to be just too closed minded to be able to appreciate good planning. Although I feel it very important to allow people to not only have their own opinion but also be allowed to express it, I believe it is equally important to respect others opinions. The character assassination of the developer's representative is childish. He also said they were open to public and staff input and if it was something the Township did not want they would drop the idea. Very few developers I've seen in the Township have approached a development in that way. As a footnote, I love the golf course, think the Riverview community is great and look forward to future development in that area.

It's a FAC said...

Welcome to the F.A.C. blog "myopinion." The meeting you attended last night was a Board of Supervisors meeting. The meeting being discussed in this thread though is a Planning Commission meeting. You really should come to all the public Township meetings for the flavor of what really happens. In fact, F.A.C. highly recommends that all Forks residents attend. We are glad that you have taken an interest in YOUR township. Keep coming to meetings... and thank you for posting.