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Manor homeowners call for sidewalks, streetlights in new Brandywine phase

| Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Lillian DeDomenic | for the Penn Trafford Star
Some homeowners in the Woods of Brandywine neighborhood are unhappy that Manor Council approved plans that don't include sidewalks or streetlights in the next phase of development for the housing plan.
Lillian DeDomenic | for the Penn Trafford Star
Some homeowners in the Woods of Brandywine neighborhood are unhappy that Manor Council approved plans that don't include sidewalks or streetlights in the next phase of development for the housing plan.

Some Woods of Brandywine homeowners are fuming that Manor Council approved a site plan for a new 70-home phase that doesn't include sidewalks or streetlights – elements a previous developer included in earlier phases.

A group of 16 homeowners showed up at the Aug. 21 meeting to question council's July 17 conditional approval of the new phase by Brandywine Recovery LP.

Many of them said they were hoping their input would be considered before building begins for the new homes, but a borough solicitor, Bill Ferraro, said council is responsible for enforcing the plan it approved.

Council put discussion on the plan on hold until John Campfield, the solicitor who advised the board on the plan in July, was available this week to review the situation.

The discussion is expected to resume when council meets at 7 p.m. on Sept. 4.

“Before you have a discussion, you need to know exactly what your rights are, and what the developer's are,” Ferraro told council.

Some homeowners cited safety reasons for including sidewalks and streetlights throughout the housing plan. They also said they wanted to maintain consistency in the appearance of the plan.

“If we're going to keep the name ‘Woods of Brandywine,' and we're going to keep that motif, then we tell all new developers, ‘This is what this community is, period, so you adjust to it, or you go to create your own community,'” Jack Podowski said.

Susan Forney, who attended a zoning hearing board meeting about the phase in June, expressed anger that sidewalks were incorporated into an earlier version of the plan then removed.

“We weren't taken into consideration,” Forney said.

Borough officials said there is no requirement for sidewalks in Manor's subdivision-and-land-development ordinance.

Brandywine Recovery President Kevin Braun said sidewalks can become an aesthetics problem over the years as utility companies install or repair various infrastructure, then use a different cement color.

He declined to comment specifically about the meeting, which he did not attend, but said sidewalks can become “a little bit of a management nightmare for homeowners and municipalities.”

“The reality of it is, with the development standards that most local municipalities establish, the roads are so wide that people don't really walk on the sidewalks as much as you might think,” Braun said.

Manager Joe Lapia said Brandywine Recovery, which bought the property after it was put up for a Westmoreland County sheriff's sale, has one more plan revision to submit.

“At this point, I don't believe they're geared up to really start,” Lapia said.

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or cforeman@tribweb.com.

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