Warriors Mark shoots down Raspberry Ridge plan again

Raspberry Ridge stands rejected by the Warriors Mark supervisors.
Township solicitor Larry Clapper presented a large document last night, as a resolution before the board, to uphold its previous rejection of the 253-lot “trailer park” development proposed by developer John Gilliland. The supervisors had the option to vote down the resolution. However, they chose to unanimously approve it.
The issue came before the board after a rejection of a fifth time extension at a March meeting and the subsequent rejection of a preliminary plan for the development.
In March, the board turned down the development that among other issues would have required a sewage treatment plant. The plans had been introduced in the early part of 2004 and were deemed “incomplete” and “unsatisfactory” by solicitor Clapper as of the March 2005 meeting.
A local environmental group, Save Our Streams, has considered the development to be a high-risk plan. The group has contended the development could potentially harm ground water quality and cause congestion on small, rural roads.
A spokesperson for the group, Dorothy Gurney, has consistently asked supervisors to reject the plan. Since the time-extension denial and rejection of the plan, the developer requested an appeals hearing before the board. The hearing was held in May and Gurney asked the denial be upheld.
The developer and the township agreed it would take some time for Clapper to review the details of evidence presented at the hearing. So it was agreed, in principle, the board would not make a decision on the appeal until last night’s meeting at the earliest.
At the hearing, attorney Tom Scott, representing Gilliland, presented documentation and testimony from witnesses. Scott answered comments that were sent by the township in a letter that outlined its concerns and reasons for rejecting the time extension and preliminary plan.
After the hearing, Gilliland representative Rebecca Walter, said of 20 concerns listed in the letter only three were required as part of a preliminary plan while the others could be included in a preliminary plan but were required in a final plan.
Some of the information presented at the hearing was dated April 14, while other material was dated April 20, according to Clapper.
According to a previous Daily Herald article regarding the hearing, Clapper said the township (through its engineer) had been in receipt of some of the information prior to the May 10 appeals hearing. He responded “yes” when asked if the township had some of the materials as early as April 20. He added supervisors had not reviewed it prior to the appeals hearing.
During the hearing, Clapper asked if there was case law available on a rejection of the plan and introduction of new material. Clapper wanted to know if that would be an extension of time that the board rejected. Clapper wondered if the board was permitted to look at the additional information or “is it really a revision of the plan or are they the same thing.” He also wondered if the board was permitted to accept the additional information when it was not available at the time of the original decision on March 1.
Last night, Clapper provided the answers himself when he detailed information in a lengthy resolution he had prepared.
“During the reconsideration hearing, the developer failed to present evidence necessary to prove they had corrected the defects in their preliminary plan,” said Clapper. “The evidence submitted was created after the rejection date. It was not available at the time of the rejection. (A fifth time extension) wasn’t granted. If we had to accept (the evidence at the hearing) they would have, in effect, granted themselves an extension.
“In a light that’s favorable to the developer, we may have even accepted revisions made up to March 13 (the expiration of a fourth time extension),” said Clapper. “(Beyond that), it’s like they had another time extension.”
Clapper explained that to allow the developer the additional time to present new information would, in essence, supercede the board decision.
At last night’s meeting, Save Our Streams, through Gurney, again asked the board to uphold it previous decision on the development. After the decision to uphold the rejection of the plan, she thanked the supervisors.
Upon leaving the meeting, she said, “(The supervisor’s vote) was good for (the) community, for Warriors Mark Run, Spruce Creek and all the residents of the area.”
She was asked if her group might oppose other development.
In response, she said, “Save Our Streams is only interested in projects that affect the stream or ground waters. I can’t predict what might come up in the future.”
Scott, Walter and surveyor Fred Henry represented Gilliland at last night’s meeting.
“Obviously, we are disappointed that they made that decision,” said Scott.
“I think they have denied the community the opportunity to have a place where senior citizens could live at reasonable costs. (The end result is) when people get old in Warriors Mark they generally have to move somewhere else because there is no place around here to live.
“Beyond that, as the solicitor said, it’s a 16-page decision which I haven’t seen yet, so it would be inappropriate for me to make any specific comments,” said Scott. “We believe the plan that we submitted meets every appropriate requirement of the land and subdivision ordinance. I’ll be discussing the appropriateness of taking an appeal to county court with my client.”