Sunday, February 11, 2007

PC - Out In Front Again! - 2/8/07

The Forks Planning Commission made the headlines! The planners voted once again to recommend that the Board of Supervisors both reject the time extension offered by the developers as well as reject the entire Kings Farm plan. Please read Joe Nixon (Morning Call) and Courtney Lomax (Express Times) for more on the PC 2/8/07 meeting.

The developers were not able to complete the required perc tests by the January 31st deadline imposed on them by the Board of Supervisors. And, because the tests were not completed, the Township’s engineer, Fred Hay, could not finish the plan review. Without the plan review, there was in fact, no plan before the PC to consider. Having no plan, the PC had no choice but to recommend rejection of it.

The planners first voted to reject the offered time extension (until July 31st). This would have given the developers another 5 months to complete perc tests on the acreage. The plan was filed in December 2005 and the PC expressed the collective opinion that 12 months was more than enough time to do the tests. Both Solicitor Karl Kline and Hay remarked that normally perculation tests are completed before plan submission. In this instance they were not.

Planning Commission Chairman Erik Chuss said, "(To me) it’s lot of wasted time and what’s been done so far... has been too little, too late." Planner Dean Turner asked (attorney for the developers) John VanLuvanee what proof there was that the time line imposed by the Board was not reasonable. Planner Carl Dicker wondered why there was an 8 month gap and why the tests were not begun until winter.

Of the packet of information before the planners, Kline said, "Whenever you have a situation where there’s more paperwork from attorneys than there is from engineers in a case, you know you’ve got problems..."

Kline also noted that in reviewing the papers, among other things, he saw no records of stormwater calculations or of sewer planning modules. According to VanLuvanee, the delay is "on the developer" and not on their engineering firm (Hanover) because the developer was waiting for a response from the Township on whether or not it would amend its Act 537 plan, the official plan that designates sewers/disposal in Forks.

The offered (by the developers) time extension will be before the Board of Supervisors at their February 15th meeting.

Please note that the Kings Farm plan is not the same as the Kings Mill plan. Kings Farm is the plan filed by the developers at the end of 2005 under the old zoning ordinance. That ordinance allowed 2 acre minimum lots in the FP. Kings Farm was the second plan introduced before the PC at the big public meeting in August 2005. That was the night the developers proposed 800 plus dwelling units on the same acreage. The planners voted then to NOT recommend the high density plan to the Board. Please see the FAC August 2005 Archive for more on the original proposals.

The current Kings Mill plan calls for even higher density on even greater acreage. It is the subject of the zoning challenge currently in process before the Zoning Hearing Board. The developers contend that Forks Zoning Ordinance is too restrictive.

Our objective is to relate what is experienced at Forks Township meetings for those who cannot attend. We are attempting to be as factual as we can. If we make a mistake, tell us via email or COMMENT here in the blog, and we will do our best to correct it. We are not perfect. We want to get it right.

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