Eric Chuss, Dean Turner, John Castrovinci, Jim Wideman, & Les Ottenwalder... They are our courageous PC members, the ones who bucked the trend and didn't fall for the developer dangled money and other "tokens." On August 11, 2005, they said "NO" to the KINGS' high density proposal. They deserve our gratitude and our thanks!
- Eric Chuss clearly stated that the problem in the township is not "sprawl" but HIGH DENSITY. He said that "we should not even be considering this" (plan). He said that there is already too much pressure on the Township's resources and taxes and that the intent of the districts (in the Comprehensive Plan) is not being met. (APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE)
- Dean Turner added that the development areas that Benner used, when counting children per house should have more appropriately been Vista Estates, Frost Hollow Knolls, and Pheasant Ridge. Turner also said that the money involved in the increased sewer and water capacity needed to be considered since this would likely put the Township "over the limit." He told Benner that although he had seen the plan at one of the private viewings, other Planners had not. He said that there were NO PLANS in their meeting packets and that Benner did not "present" the sketch plan as it would normally be done (where the roads are, location of detention ponds, etc.) And, he disagreed with Benner's assertion that "open space has to be usable" and cited Natural Bridge, VA, the Grand Canyon, and places like that as examples. (APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE)
- John Castrovinci questioned the school age child per household figure (.75 kids per house) and that the $2 million dollar figure that Benner waved is really $1.9 million and will not be realized until the entire development is built out. He said too that school district data does not agree with what Benner stated. (APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE)
- Jim Wideman questioned the appropriateness of an Overlay Zone and suggested that rezoning the entire district would be the legal way to go. He said that anyone could build less than the zoning allows and would get no objection from the PC. Benner said that that is another way to achieve the developer's goals. Benner said that he guesses "there's a difference of opinion as to what high density is."
- Vito Tamborrino asked about the source of the numbers used in the school age children analysis. Benner said that the developer did his own research. Tamborrino said that "if he took them from the newspaper... you know how accurate they are." (GASP, GASP, GROAN) He intoned, "Be careful what you wish for. You may get it." He asked that there be some sort of compromise between the two plans. He asked that the open space be kept to Richmond Road and that the houses go behind the open space. - Turner "respectfully disagreed" and stated that if water and sewer goes into that area, the rest of the township will have that kind of density (the 800 house plan).
- Les Ottenwalder said that he does not want to see water and sewer north of Newlins Rd. (APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE.)
Chuss noted that TRAFFIC was not addressed and that 800+ houses... (APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE) Tamborrino asked Benner if the developer was open to compromise? Benner said that they are.
THEN... THEN... THEN... Tamborrino asked Solicitor Kline if it would be okay to forego the comments from the public and ask the Planners for a vote (instead of staying another two hours.) Kline suggested that fundamental rules of fair play be followed and he recommended that Tamborinno allow the people to be heard.
Join me in thanking our brave Planners - Chuss, Turner, Castrovinci, Wideman, and Ottenwalder. It was an exceptional Township meeting. Our Planning Commissioners are NOT elected officials. They are appointed by the Supervisors. They work hard and they deserve our gratitude. KUDOS! And THANK YOU!
Four of our five Supervisors were in the audience and they clearly saw and heard that the public and the Planners are against this high density project. If you can't be at the next meeting, and it's on the agenda, please let them know how you feel. Their contact information can be found at www.forkstownship.org.