Su­per­vi­sors deny de­vel­op­ment plan due to sev­eral is­sues

PEEKS: Open space in ques­tion

The Citizens' Voice - - COMMUNITY NEWS - PAT RUSH­TON Moun­tain Top Peeks

When the Planned Res­i­den- tial De­vel­op­ment (PRD) at the Pre­serve at Blue Ridge de­vel­op­ment plan fi­nally came be­fore the Dor­rance Twp. su­per­vi­sors last month, there was no dis­cus­sion prior to the unan­i­mous vote to turn down the plan.

How­ever, the town­ship’s 12-page writ­ten de­ci­sion on the plan, as well as com­ments from the town­ship’s en­gi­neer, the county plan­ning com­mis­sion and its en­gi­neer, have plenty to say about prob­lems they iden­ti­fied in the plan.

On Aug. 7, 2018, the Pre­serve at Blue Ridge LLC filed an ap­pli­ca­tion for ap­proval of its plan to con­struct a PRD on 451 acres of land in a C-1 (Con­ser­va­tion) dis­trict lo­cated pri­mar­ily in Dor­rance Twp. and par­tially in Rice Twp. The firm, headed by Robert Tam­burro, wants to build 134 res­i­den­tial units in four phases.

The su­per­vi­sors’ de­ci­sion at their Dec. 10, 2018 meet­ing came after pub­lic hear­ings were held on the ten­ta­tive plan on Oct. l, 2018 and Nov. 12, 2018 and the town­ship’s plan­ning com­mis­sion rec­om­men­da­tion

that su­per­vi­sors deny ap­proval.

A fol­low-up writ­ten de­ci­sion com­piled by town­ship so­lic­i­tor Don­ald Kar­powich iden­ti­fied sev­eral prob­lems, in­clud­ing the planned de­vel­op­ment’s wa­ter sup­ply, sewer sys­tem, open space re­quire­ments and lack of a de­tailed plan de­sign.

The de­ci­sion also noted that the prop­erty in­cludes a pub­lic 27-hole golf course with club­house. Su­per­vi­sors said the de­vel­oper plans to de­velop the PRD as part of that pub­lic golf course, a vi­o­la­tion of the zon­ing or­di­nance.

“The Board con­cludes that the pub­lic golf course and the hous­ing units are two prin­ci­pal per­mit­ted uses and the Ap­pli­cant’s mix­ing of these

two-prin­ci­pal per­mit­ted uses vi­o­lates sec­tion 1602 of the Zon­ing Or­di­nance,” the writ­ten de­ci­sion stated. “In ad­di­tion, com­mer­cial fa­cil­i­ties in­tended to serve the pub­lic at large are not per­mit­ted in a PRD,” they added.

In his re­port to the county plan­ning com­mis­sion after re­view­ing the de­vel­op­ment plan, Daniel J. Wilusz, se­nior project man­ager for Barry Isett and As­so­ciates, also pointed out the con­flict with the or­di­nance. “The golf course ap­pears to be in­cluded as part of the PRD lot but does not ap­pear to be an al­lowed use within a PRD,” Wilusz wrote.

Town­ship su­per­vi­sors stated in their de­ci­sion that the plan lacks de­signs and spec­i­fi­ca­tions for streets, curbs, side­walks, stormwa­ter de­ten­tion fa­cil­i­ties, drainage fa­cil­i­ties, wa­ter sup­ply fa­cil­i­ties, sewage dis­posal, street light­ing, tree lawns, etc. to show com­pli­ance with the SALDO (Sub­di­vi­sion and Land De­vel­op­ment

Or­di­nance). “With­out such in­for­ma­tion the Board is un­able to con­clude whether the Plan com­plies with the SALDO re­quire­ments,” su­per­vi­sors stated.

In his re­port, Wilusz noted im­prove­ments are only in­di­cated graph­i­cally on the plan and have not been shown to be de­signed to any stan­dard. “The fi­nal plan sub­mis­sion should in­clude and ad­dress all nec­es­sary de­sign cal­cu­la­tions, site geom­e­try, grad­ing, in­fra­struc­ture im­prove­ments, de­tails, im­pact stud­ies, util­ity im­prove­ment con­di­tions and all other items nec­es­sary for the com­plete de­sign and con­struc­tion of the site im­prove­ments,” he wrote.

The de­vel­oper’s plan to con­struct streets within wet­lands also came un­der fire from the board of su­per­vi­sors. “The Board con­cludes that the wet­lands lo­cated on the Prop­erty are crit­i­cal ar­eas in­tended to

pro­tect plants and an­i­mals, pre­vent flood­ing, and thereby must be main­tained and sus­tained,” Kar­powich wrote. “The Ap­pli­cant’s pro­posal to con­struct pub­lic streets in wet­lands vi­o­lates the 100 feet wet­land set­back re­quire­ment of Sec­tion 1604(C) (of the SALDO).”

A crit­i­cal area is de­fined in the town­ship’s land de­vel­op­ment or­di­nance as an area which in­cludes such things as stream cor­ri­dors, streams, flood plain ar­eas, wet­lands, slopes, which equal or ex­ceed 15 per­cent, ma­ture stands of na­tive veg­e­ta­tion and aquifer recharge and dis­charge area.

The PRD plan in­di­cates the sewage dis­posal sys­tem will be con­nected to the Moun­tain­top Area Joint San­i­tary Au­thor­ity (MAJSA) which has con­firmed it has the ca­pac­ity to serve the project. How­ever, the su­per­vi­sors noted in their de­ci­sion that a 25-foot ease­ment be­tween the

project and the ac­tual sewer man­hole lo­cated within the In­ter­state 81 right-of-way has not yet been ob­tained.

Ad­di­tion­ally, a re­port from town­ship en­gi­neer Chad M. Lello points out the sub­mit­ted plans do not con­tain lay­out or de­sign on how the sewage will be con­veyed to the MAJSA sys­tem.

“The Board con­cludes that the sewage dis­posal sys­tem fails to con­form to the de­sign stan­dards of the SALDO be­cause the Ap­pli­cant failed to de­sign the sys­tem,” the de­ci­sion stated.

Su­per­vi­sors also pointed out that an En­vi­ron­men­tal Im­pact State­ment pre­pared by Reilly As­so­ciates on be­half of the de­vel­oper in­di­cates a new cen­tral wa­ter sys­tem is pro­posed for the PRD and the wa­ter sys­tem will be shared be­tween the PRD and the golf course.

It is the town­ship en­gi­neer’s opin­ion that the lo­ca­tion of the well on a des­ig­nated “well lot” is con­sid­ered an on-site sup­ply and fails to con­form to the zon­ing or­di­nance.

The is­sue of whether the com­mon open space pro­posed by the de­vel­oper meets the re­quire­ments of the or­di­nance was raised by Wilusz, the county plan­ning com­mis­sion’s en­gi­neer.

“The com­mon open space area should be in­te­grated into the de­sign of the site and made read­ily ac­ces­si­ble and us­able to the res­i­dents,” Wilusz wrote. He said the

pro­posed com­mon open space ar­eas shown on the plans “seem re­mote and, for the most part, in­ac­ces­si­ble as they are sep­a­rated from the hous­ing by the golf course, wet­lands and stream.” He said the open space ar­eas ap­pear to be more resid­ual ar­eas than an in­te­gral part of the de­sign. “The Town­ship should de­ter­mine if the pro­posed open space ar­eas meet the in­tent of the PRD re­quire­ments,” the county plan­ning com­mis­sion en­gi­neer wrote.

Heath Eddy, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the county plan­ning com­mis­sion raised sev­eral ques­tions in his re­port

to the su­per­vi­sors fol­low­ing re­view of the pro­posed PRD. He asked if a traf­fic im­pact study has been per­formed and whether creek cross­ing per­mits be re­quired.

Eddy also rec­om­mended that the plan show pro­posed lo­ca­tion of all util­i­ties, in­clud­ing fire hy­drants; pro­vide let­ters with the ap­pli­ca­tion and to the town­ship from the po­lice and fire de­part­ments stat­ing they can pro­vide pro­tec­tion; and pro­vide a let­ter from the school dis­trict stat­ing that it will pro­vide ed­u­ca­tion for pro­posed new stu­dents and bus stop lo­ca­tions on the pri­vate roads.

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