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Hampton/Shaler

Windmont Farms hearing set for Jan. 9

| Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018, 1:33 a.m.
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A public hearing on the proposed Windmont Farms development in Hampton Township will now take place on Jan. 9, a move meant to better accommodate residents wanting to attend.

This is a continuance of a public hearing that was first advertised and scheduled in October, which was then moved to the township’s Nov. 14 working meeting. The public hearing was to be continued until Dec. 19, but then the township asked the developer if it would consider waiting until Jan. 9.

This new date could give residents a chance to attend who may not be able to make the December meeting due to seasonal activities, said Chris Lochner, manager for Hampton Township.

The applicant Crossgate Inc. is looking to develop on approximately 63 acres of land off of S. Pioneer Road in a residential/business zoning district. The proposed development would have 12 duplexes and 40 single-family homes for a total of 64 units, according to the township website.

Crossgates legal representative Brenda Sebring was present at the Nov. 14 meeting to present additional information with modifications to the current plan. However, township requested that Sebring wait to present more details on this at the January meeting.

Sebring said though the developer was ready to move forward with a public hearing, the township requested that the January date “would work better for residents (and) the developer was gracious enough to waive the time requirements.”

The time requirements in the proposal process are for the benefit of the developer, which are supposed to ensure the township makes decisions within a certain timeframe, said Hampton’s legal counsel Vince Tucceri.

Additionally, the application will be reviewed by the township environmental advisory council on Dec. 3, at 7 p.m., by the township planning commission on Dec. 10, at 7:30 p.m., and by Township Council on Jan. 9, at 7:30 p.m., preceded by the public hearing. Council will review again at its Jan. 23 meeting, at 7:30 pm., according to the township website.

Council would like to establish time requirements for speakers, and to submit any documents to be referenced at the meeting ahead of time, according to Tucceri. For the developer, everything must be submitted to township before December. Residents may submit material related to the public hearing by Jan. 3.

“I think we want to get as much information as we possibly can so this whole process can be vetted,” said Tucceri.

The township is considering a five-minute time limit for people to speak at the meeting.

Lochner said residents may be seeking an expert to present on their behalf, though not yet confirmed.

The township is reviewing whether to limit expert speaking time to five minutes as well, according to council discussion.

Amber Vogel, a resident near the proposed development, said she believes most living in the area are concerned with potential flooding. She said there’s a stream that flows around and through her property. She said they’re also concerned about tree removal at the site.

The applicant requested a variance to be relieved from Zoning Ordinance requirements on the number of replacement trees.

Martin Orban, township land use administrator for Hampton Township, previously said that the applicant is looking for a reduction of trees that need to be replanted after clearing the area for development purposes. It’s not a waiver, but a reduction, he said.

Vogel said to her and fellow residents in the area, that “it seems impossible for this development to not increase flooding.”

“Nobody is trying to stop development, we just want assurance that the environmental aspects are being studied in depth before any decisions will be made,” Vogel said. “Many residents … living along Crouse Run are already in AE flood zone and prone to flooding, so we’re just looking for assurance that the development will be done responsibly so as not to increase erosion and flooding.”

Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.

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