Sunday, July 16, 2006

PC - Again With The Firsts! - 7/13/06

The Planning Commission voted 6 to 0 to reject the Kings Farm development plan - first presented in February - before the new zoning ordinance was adopted. Their rejection will go to the Board of Supervisors as a recommendation by the PC.

Kings Farm’s plan conformed to the (old) Farmland Preservation (FP) district rules. It called for approximately 185 single family homes on 2 acre lots. Planner Jim Wideman spoke in favor of the plan noting that most of the people in his neighborhood preferred this plan. He abstained from voting because his property abuts some of the 500 (plus) acres in the Kings’ proposal.

Kings Farm sent no representative to the meeting. The partnership did offer a 90 day time extension to the Township. The PC rejected that time extension. Engineer Fred Hay noted that "these guys give time extensions all the time" and that he spent two hours redoing the engineering letter. The letter is three pages long and lists (38 or so) "issues" with the project. Hay said too that there have been no soil tests done (among other undone requirements.)

Planner Dean Turner asked acting Solicitor Steven Goudsouzian if rejecting the plan as well as rejecting the time extension would strengthen Kings’ future court case. Turner wondered if perhaps they could add this to evidence that they are being unfairly targeted and are being forced to comply with current zoning. Goudsouzian replied that anything goes when it comes to litigation, that anything can be used. He added that if they (Kings) haven’t met the requirements, it is appropriate under the PC guidelines for the plan to be rejected and forwarded to the Board of Supervisors for the ultimate decision.

Planner Carl Decker said, "The developers are sending mixed signals. On the one hand they have submitted a plan that they have no intention of building and on the other hand they are going to file a lawsuit against the Township for zoning issues that are completely bogus as far as I’m concerned." Decker added that the "developers are not working with the Township in this particular case."

Chairman Vito Tamborrino said that to him it was obvious that "they have no intention of building this plan" and that they are letting it sit there as "back-up" or something to "play a little game with." Tamborrino said that the plan they are "going with and the plan they are fighting with" is the new one, not this one.

Both Joe Nixon (Morning Call) and Sarah Mausolf (Express Times) reported on this portion of the meeting. Please read their articles.

Engineer David Lear and Strausser representative, Sal Panto, spoke to the Riverview Estates Phase IIC agenda item, a temporary parking lot for the Riverview golf course pavilion. They said that the pavilion is nearly complete and that there are events booked for it. Panto added that the pavilion will be a year round facility - it has glass walls so it can be open-air or closed.

Wideman asked about the drainage on Winchester Drive and Panto said that the Soil Conservation District said that some of the silt sacks (and "eyebrows") can be removed from the stormwater grates because there is enough grass now. The water will flow into the Frost Hollow swale until the Route 611/Frost Hollow improvements are completed next summer. After that, there will be no water drained from Riverview/Winchester into the Frost Hollow swale.

Panto also said that the Route 611/Frost Hollow Road test borings have been done and he expects to have PennDot permits by March for the intersection improvements. The improvements include expanding a bridge (?) by 12 feet and adding left hand turning lanes in "both directions." After the improvements to the intersection are completed, including the new stormwater pipe under Route 611, they will "top coat" Winchester Drive.

Of the Riverview clubhouse, Panto said that it will be 35,000 square feet and take two years to construct. They hope to begin construction next year. Panto said too, that the lease on the trailers (the temporary clubhouse) is just about up and they are contemplating removing the trailers and putting in a permanent two story building with cart storage on the lower level. None of this is decided and they may continue to rent the trailers for the near term. The temporary parking lot was conditionally approved in a 7:0 vote.

No representative from the Courts At Newlins Road (the project around the 100 year flood plain on the corner of Newlins and Sullivan) was present. Hay said that the plan they have is the same one that was presented for preliminary approval. It was tabled 7:0.

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