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Homeowners ask for help in fight against developer

February 06, 2007|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Residents of the Moss Spring Estates subdivision asked the Greencastle Borough Council on Monday for support in their struggle against a local developer.

Speaking for the Moss Spring residents, Nancy Dunn said the developer, Frank C. Plessinger, is requiring the owners of 42 lots in the subdivision to join the homeowners association of his adjacent planned residential development (PRD) commonly referred to as "the Villas."

On Monday, Dunn and a few of the affected residents at the meeting told the council they "refuse to join the homeowners association" because the requirement is illegal.

"We request the borough solicitor (Melissa Dively) write to Frank Plessinger and copy Antrim Township manager Ben Thomas and the Moss Spring residents that it is illegal to compel borough residents to be a member of a PRD Homeowners Association and to cease and desist," Dunn said to council.

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Council President Charles Eckstine said the council could not make such a recommendation without getting more facts.

"I would like to ask the solicitor and the borough manager to look into this," he said.

Mayor Robert Eberly said the borough would have little if any authority in the matter because it involved a covenant or contract between the residents and the developer.

"Covenants are outside of what a municipality can enforce," he said. "Plus, you can file anything at the courthouse if you pay the fee, but that does not make it legal."

Dunn presented council members with a packet of information on the subject including a letter written in December 2006 by Plessinger's attorney, J. Edgar Wine of Dick, Stein, Schemel, Wine & Frey LLP. She said the letter was the first mention of the homeowners association requirement.

Wine's letter to the residents stated that in order for Plessinger to develop the Villas as a PRD, a mix of housing was needed and "in order for that mix to be obtained, the (Antrim) Township required that your lots, which generally would be detached single family homes, be included in the area designated as a planned residential development."

In his letter, Wine said that because the 42 lots were included in the PRD they are required to be part of the homeowners association.

Dunn and many of the residents questioned the council how Antrim Township could include Greencastle borough property in an approved PRD.

The homeowners association was not the only concern residents of the Moss Spring subdivision raised to the council on Monday evening. Residents also questioned whether the borough could force Plessinger to "finish the development" including submitting certain roads for ordination and leveling off greenspace.

Dunn said she will be speaking to the Antrim Township Board of Supervisors about the issue Feb. 13.

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