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Recreational needs is focus of Chambersburg meeting

August 15, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Chambersburg Borough Council will devote most of Tuesday's public work session to the borough's recreation needs, and possibly formulate a plan to change the recreation requirements for developers.

Council members for months have been batting around ways to change the current recreation ordinance, which requires developers of subdivisions with more than five houses to give land or money to the borough to be used for recreational space.

The current ordinance requires either .01-acre or $200 for each housing unit.

Council members have said the borough should increase both requirements to get a larger tract of land for a community park or ball fields. Currently, developers dedicate small "pocket parks" that are often pieces of undesirable land or a nuisance to take care of, officials have said.

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Some suggestions have included doubling the land requirement to .02-acre per unit or the fee to $1,000 a unit.

Most affected would be GS&G Properties, which owns the Gabler Tract that is under development in the north end of the borough.

Only a portion of that project is built-out, and council members would like to see the developer allocate a bigger chunk of land so the borough can build sports fields.

Borough Manager Eric Oyer said the developers are making good-faith efforts to reach an agreement that will give the borough a larger tract of land.

"There are other occasions where council took things on good faith and was stung," said Councilman Robert Wareham.

He made a motion Tuesday to table approval of GS&G's 38-lot subdivision on Sunbrook Drive until the recreation issue is resolved. He withdrew the motion after the Gablers' attorney said the developers have no intention of submitting further subdivision plans until a new recreation ordinance is approved.

"It is to the benefit of our development, too. We don't want little pieces of land that are of value to no one," said attorney Steve Fishman.

Council then unanimously approved the subdivision agreement, which spelled out that the borough and developer are in discussions to find suitable property for public recreation.

It also stated that in the meantime the developer would contribute $7,600 in lieu of land dedication to be held in an escrow account by the borough until they reach a mutually satisfactory agreement on the dedication of recreational facilities.

In the event they are not able to come up with one within four months, the borough may accept the $7,600 as the fee in lieu of land.

Representatives from the borough's recreation department will attend Tuesday's public meeting, which will begin at 7 p.m. in Borough Hall at 100 S. Second St., Chambersburg.

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