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Developers withdraw plans for Rouzerville horse farm

July 23, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

ROUZERVILLE, Pa. -- Land development plans for the horse farm across from Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar have been yanked early in the review process.

The Washington Township Supervisors received a letter last week from RVG Management & Development Co. of Wormleysburg, Pa. In it, the company asked for its plans back.

"The people who put in preliminary plans requested they be withdrawn and they asked for all the drawings returned," said Carroll Sturm, chairman of the supervisors.

Sturm said that, legally, the supervisors must keep one copy of plans because they are in the public domain. The plans had not received preliminary approval from the supervisors, but they were before the Washington Township Planning Commission for its comments.

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"We have a contract with RVG to buy the property and we're waiting for them to move forward," said Tim Light, a Realtor working with farm owner Anthony Bittner.

Light said he and Bittner started talking to RVG in the fall of 2006, then signed the contract in April 2007.

"They came to us. We had a number of people that wanted to buy the site," Light said.

Preliminary land development plans showed that Washington Township Center would have seven commercial lots, with the largest one occupying 19 acres of the family horse farm. The property is across from Rouzerville Commons on Washington Township Boulevard.

Edric Fetter of RVG did not return a call Tuesday. He said in an earlier interview that the company specializes in neighborhood shopping centers.

The company's Web site shows plazas in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Many are anchored by a grocery store.

The Daily News Record in Harrisonburg, Va., reported this week that RVG withdrew a rezoning request for a property targeted for a Martin's Food Market. The newspaper quoted a representative of the project's engineer as saying it was unusual for a plan to get so far in the process and then fall through.

Light, too, said he was surprised by the turn of events, saying that it seems RVG wants to renegotiate its offer for the farm. That's something Light said he hasn't seen happen on an active contract in his 30 years of buying and selling properties.

"I've never been involved in anything like this before," he said.

The parties at the table talked Tuesday morning and expressed a shared desire to get the property developed, according to Light.

"There's a real need for some of these stores and restaurants in Waynesboro," he said.

Fetter, in the earlier interview, would not speculate about any tenants for the shopping center, saying no lease agreements had been signed.

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