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Supervisors on verge of turning down 902-unit plan

September 27, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - The Antrim Township Supervisors on Tuesday voted to proceed with turning down a 902-unit housing development on Pa. 16, while the developer's attorney said he would continue with lawsuits already in the works.

"We think that's fair," Bryan Salzmann said on behalf of Buchanan Trail Creek Farm LLC of Mercersburg, Pa.

Salzmann met with Thomas Mongold, a representative of the developer, outside the township municipal offices immediately after the supervisors - on a 4-0 vote - authorized their solicitor to prepare reports to support their planned disapproval of Creek Farm Village next week.

"When you deny a PRD (planned residential development), you have to have written finding of fact and conclusion of law. We just want to make sure it's done right," Solicitor John Lisko said. Those documents, which outline reasons for disapproval, could total 20 pages, he said.

Lisko and the supervisors would not summarize the reasons for potentially disapproving the plan. The first set of sketches for Creek Farm Village, planned for a 307-acre farm across from Talhelm's Gas Station west of Greencastle, were submitted in November 2005.

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Mongold contended the supervisors "changed direction" on the development's approval.

A settlement was mentioned several times in discussions, although it was apparently refused by the supervisors. Attorneys for both sides kept the nature of the settlement private.

The developers have filed two appeals in Franklin County Court. Lisko has in turn filed preliminary objections to both. No court dates have been set, he said.

The two appeals concern the supervisors' views that plans had been abandoned when other sets were submitted.

Mongold said he is worried that if the development reverts to a traditional style, as opposed to the planned residential development which incorporates more open space, a connector road would funnel traffic into the Greencastle Greens development. Greencastle Greens residents had opposed that road, and it was eliminated from the planned residential development.

He told the supervisors that their potential disapproval is surprising because it's been clear that "we're willing to negotiate on units and other issues."

Salzmann said his side will wait for the supervisors to finalize the decision, then "respond appropriately."

The supervisors' vote to proceed with preparing documents to support disapproval came after a 30-minute-long executive session convened with the "possibility of settling appeals they have with the township," Lisko said. The supervisors, without further explanation, also alluded to a submission made Tuesday by Mongold, but they ultimately excluded it from their consideration.

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