Council to review latest Windmont plan revision
Hampton Township Council approved to review the latest set of revised plans from the developer of the proposed Windmont Farms planned residential development, with a public hearing still scheduled for Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m., at the Council Chambers on McCully Road.
Last week’s motion included making the revised plans available to the residents. Township engineers, staff, environmental advisory council and planning commissions will also have to review this latest set of plans.
These revisions were submitted after a previously imposed Jan. 2 deadline made by council last December to not accept any revisions to plans by the developer Crossgate, Inc. However, Vince Tucceri, legal counsel for Hampton Township, said the township engineers made requests for revisions to the developer after the council had voted on establishing deadlines.
Therefore, he recommended to council at its Jan. 23 meeting to reconsider the deadline and accept the latest revision of plans. He said council was not aware the township engineers would request these amendments. Tucceri also recommended residents be allowed to see the latest plans as well.
Crossgate Inc. is looking to develop on approximately 63 acres of land off of South Pioneer Road in a residential/business zoning district. The proposed development would have a combination of duplexes and single family homes for more than 60 units, according to the township website.
This has been an ongoing concern of residents located near the development who feel that the development and a proposed tree removal variance would cause even more substantial flooding in what they say is their already overly saturated properties.
This, along with other concerns, have prompted these residents to seek their own professional experts and legal advisers to review plans submitted to the township by the developer. And they plan to present their findings at the upcoming public hearing.
However, they expressed they were sidelined at the latest decision by council at its Jan. 23 meeting and were concerned of the short timeline before the Feb. 13 meeting to review the latest revisions.
Brenda Sebring, legal representative for Crossgate, said its engineers met all the requested revisions from the township after receiving the requests via a letter received Dec. 28. But this resulted in a revised plan submittal Jan. 11.
Residents expressed frustration in part because the public hearing has already been moved several times. There have been several extensions granted to the applicant. A public hearing was first advertised and scheduled in October, then moved to the township’s November working meeting. The public hearing was to be continued until Dec. 19, but then the township asked the developer to consider waiting until Jan. 9 to better accommodate the residents during the busy holiday season.
Then the developer requested an extension of a public hearing to Feb. 13.
At last week’s meeting, Merrit DesLauriers, a resident of Lakewood Drive near the development, said a group of residents concerned with the proposed development have an attorney on hand.
She said three weeks is not a lot of time to research, review and respond to a new submission of plans.
“There needs to be substantial time for residents and professionals we hired … to review these plans,” DesLauriers said.
But council members said they only want to get the latest submission to staff so engineering can see if the developer made the revisions requested Dec. 28. Sebring said engineers worked over the holidays to ensure all the requested changes were fully met.
Residents present first suggested the council shouldn’t accept plan revisions after the deadline decided upon last month.
Lochner said if council voted not to accept the revisions for review only at last week’s meeting, the developer could still submit the plans at the February public hearing along with the engineer’s Dec. 28 recommendation for revisions and say they fully met their obligation. And the township staff and engineers would not be able to adequately address the plans since they didn’t see them prior to the upcoming hearing.
Council President Mike Peters said it’s important township staff, engineers, council and residents have all the latest information to review.
Hampton Township Environmental Advisory Committee and the township planning commission have meetings that will no doubt review these plans once again Feb. 4 and Feb. 11, respectively.
Peters assured residents present there would be no more submissions accepted from the developer prior to the Feb. 13 meeting. Now the township engineers, which are from Gateway and PVE, will review if the requested revisions were made as stated.
Tucceri said if residents and/or their professional experts had “legitimate reason” to request an extension, they may make that request at the Feb. 13 public hearing meeting. Council may proceed if they wish.
Tucceri said while council is there to represent the township and its residents, members want to make sure they adhere to the rights of the developer as well.
“We want the best plans for our committees to review and we want our residents to have time too,” said Bethany Blackburn, Hampton Township council member.
Blackburn said council is obligated to respond to developer’s needs and residents needs.
“The balance is not always going to please everybody but I can assure you we’re trying to do that,” she said.
Natalie Beneviat is a