by Catherine Sutton-Martin
August 19, 2013
Newtown Supervisors, Aug. 12, told developer Nelson "Chip" Vaughan, in a 3-0 vote, "no thank you" to his proffered $70,000 "fee in lieu of," and told the developer to build the trail that was approved in August 2001, during the original land development plans and agreements.
Supervisor Chair Joe Catania and Supervisor George Wood were absent.
On Aug. 13, 2012, Vaughan and Springhouse Development Homeowners Association President Robert Zakian requested Newtown Supervisors "waive the requirement to install the trail to nowhere" for a $70,000 donation to the township.
The trail, which is supposed to run between Boot to Goshen roads, was a requirement for Planning Commission approval of the 17-lot subdivision in 2001.
Former Supervisor John Custer and former Planning Commission Chair John Battista urged the board to uphold agreements approved by previous boards and commissions -- the township Planning Commission, the Delaware County Planning Commission, the 2001 Board of Commissioners.
Custer was on the Board of Supervisors which approved the final land development plans that included a trail.
Battista was chair of the Planning Commission, which negotiated the trail "as an integral part of the trail system mentioned in the Master Plan."
Battista and Custer showed the board copies of The Site Plan and the "amenities" described in the promotional material for the development, showing the trail and a bulleted item about a "community walking trail and open space."
The Site Plan depicts the trail from Boot Road, through the open space, down to the loop road by the Manor Home, running down the roadway of the development, then bearing off the road out to more open space, then coming back to Springhouse Lane to Goshen Road.
Grace Olefather a resident in the Springhouse development, told the board there would be no easement from her, regarding the trail and that "$70,000 would better serve the township" perhaps to widen Goshen Road. She also mentioned that if the trail were to be built as depicted in the Site Plan, it would run down a common driveway and over a retaining wall.
"It's not about the money," said Supervisor H. Ross Lambert. "The original development plan had the trail. Build it."
Supervisor John Nawn noted that Toll Brothers is extending a trail from the John Wert House and also noted that BPG was putting in a trail in its plans for the town center.
"The trail was on the plans originally," said Nawn. "Let's not go backward" and threw his support in having the trail completed.
Ray Lopez of Old Forest Road told the board he supports Custer and Battista, saying “It would set a bad precedent to negate previous boards of supervisors."
On a different note regarding the Springhouse development, the board voted 3-0 to table the final release of a Performance Bond in the amount of $178,420 and accept dedication of Spring House and Carriage lanes.
Richard Sokorai, the township's solicitor, suggested the board postpone or table the issue of dedication "as there's deed description problems and issues of road repairs and the trail."