East Penn Press

Sunday, December 16, 2018

UPPER MILFORD TOWNSHIP

Thursday, October 5, 2017 by JULIA F. SWAN Special to The Press in Local News

Fields at Jasper Ridge gets preliminary plan approval; Supervisors criticize Kay Builders’ procedures

Upper Milford supervisors, at a special meeting Sept. 28, granted preliminary plan approval to Kay Builders for the Fields at Jasper Ridge, a subdivision of 123 twin homes and townhomes on the 29-acre Kohler tract, but laced their discussion of the plan with criticism of the way Kay Builders operates.

Some 30 residents, many of them from neighboring Mink Estates, were on hand to voice their concerns about the development, which focused mainly on stormwater drainage and traffic.

Supervisor Robert Sentner read a statement in which he argued, “the plan as we have it is not complete….we sat here in a supervisors meeting more than a month ago and asked for a full set of plans” and said they received no response from the developer.

He said supervisors had to schedule the special meeting because “we are working with a developer that seems to think that rules and regulations don’t apply to him.”

Supervisors explained they had a Sept. 30 deadline to approve the preliminary plans, and while they were not happy with what Kay Builders has submitted, they are legally bound to act on the plans. Solicitor Marc Fisher recommended they approve the plan with conditions; if they reject it, the developer could appeal and get the plan approved “as is.”

The preliminary approval included a number of conditions, including compliance with all the comments in the township engineer’s review letter. The conditions did not include the requirement that Kay Builders representatives objected to at the supervisors’ previous meeting. That requirement was no earth moving start on the site until all outside agencies have reviewed and approved the plans.

No representatives from Kay were present at last week’s meeting.

Sentner urged the residents in attendance to continue monitoring progress of the development. What was approved was just the preliminary plan and the final plans will still have to be submitted to the planning commission and the supervisors for review and approval.

Anthony Tosco, who lives and has a business downstream from the development, was again present to express misgivings about drainage from the development coming onto his property, where he had to do extensive work to alleviate stormwater issues.

Township engineer Jeffrey Ott said Kay Builders can’t increase the rate of runoff from the development, and their plan promises to actually reduce it.

In response to another resident, Sentner said the new development is obtaining water from the Lehigh County Authority and water pressure in the area will actually improve. There will also be fire hydrants in Mink Estates, which he called one advantage of the development.

Supervisor Daniel Mohr said in 18 years on the planning commission and 16 years as a supervisor, “I’ve never come across this. Changes [in the plan] are daily, almost. I wish we could have afforded to buy it [the Kohler tract].”

Supervisors Chairman George DeVault said, “If it were up to me I’d like to see a building moratorium all over southwestern Lehigh County.” He said traffic is getting worse because of the continued development of the area.

“Legally, I don’t have a leg to stand on,” he said about a moratorium. “I’m pretty much disgusted with the whole process. That’s why I’m not running for re-election.” DeVault’s term expires at the end of 2017.

Township Manager Daniel DeLong said one positive achievement as a result of the open space ordinance township residents approved last year is that more than 200 acres have been acquired this year to be preserved.

In other business, supervisors accepted the high bid to purchase the property at 4245 Shimerville Road. It had been advertised for sale four times, DeLong said.The last advertisement drew four bids, ranging from $8,100 to $22,200. The high bid was from Robert and Ann Hartranft of Shimerville Road.