|Att'y Tom Elliott|
The first thing he did was ask Biddison to waive his copyright to the plans so Elliott could copy and inspect them.
"I'm not prepared to have a negotiation on copyright law at a Planning Commission meeting," Biddison bristled, as Chairman Lee Snover explained that developer plans are generally not copied for members of the public, although they can inspect them at municipal offices.
Having insinuated a lack of transparency, Elliott went in to claim that the 86-sheet plan is itself "pretty disappointing." He called it both "unimaginative" and "way too dense." He scoffed at the notion of a project for senior citizens located next to a golf course, noting that many of them will be unable to ambulate in just a few years."You're building a project that by its very nature is ill-proposed for a golf course community," he argued.
|Les Walker and Harry Powell|
Planner Les Walker, who last month derided opponents of this development as NIMBYs, told Elliott that he happens to be a Professional Engineer and that the downpour that closed roads in Bethlehem Township only happens once very 500 years.
"I don't know how many times I've heard in the last 5-10 years, 'That was a 500-year storm,'" responded Elliott.
In addition to the complete absence of a storm water study, Elliott questioned whether there's been any study of the water quality going from the pond and golf course and into the wetlands. he noted the golf course refuses to use that water to irrigate its fairways.
Agreeing that water quality is something that should be looked at, Kenn Edinger moved to table the proposal to send the development into administrative review. He was joined by Planning Commission members Don Wright, Mark Grandinetti, Harry Powell and James Daley. Chairman Lee Snover, who has a personal relationship with Biddison, abstained. Walker was the sole planner willing to move the plans into administrative review without even examining a storm water study.*
Earlier that evening, Walker askked that the minutes be corrected to reflect that he never said he supported the Traditions plan. He did say again that he is opposed to "some of the antics" displayed by Green Pond Marsh supporters.
Citizens also spoke out against the proposed development. Mary Claire Diamond told planners that she grew up on the golf course, and as a little girl, would count the deer and watch baby owls hatching. She called it a "terrible shame that you considering letting this plan go forward." She still lives on Church Road, near this development, and reported that "traffic in the morning is horrendous." She finally called on planners to "address the flooding issue."
Malissa Davis provided a historical perspective. She noted that planners turned down Tuskes plans to develop Green Pond Marsh in 1999. She reported that Leonard Hudak, when he was a Commissioner, complained about increased traffic and stormwaters. A Toll Brothers plan in 2003 was unpopular enough with residents that 50 of them showed for a DEP meeting. A Petrucci plan proposed in 2010 was given a "Yuck!" by Planning Chair lee Snover, and at that time, Commissioner Michale Hudak, like his father leonard, was concerned about traffic.
After the meeting, Township residents Barry and Roy Roth reported that the flooding from last Monday's storm was so bad that Hope Road is completely washed way at the Bethlehem Boat Club. They believe all these storm waters cascaded down from St. Luke's Anderson campus, which is incidentally expanding.
* Update 12:45 pm: During the roll call vote on the motion to table administrative review, the Recording Secretary forgot to call on Grandinetti for a vote. Chair Lee Snover caught this, and asked her to get Grandinetti's vote, which was a No. Planning Director Nathan Jones tells me this can be clealry heard on the tape, but I never heard it in the meeting room.
I have also asked Jones why the documentation that should accompany the agenda prior to a Planning meeting is not being attached. That will start next month.
Finally, I think it's time to say that the new PA system in place is horrible, worst than the last, and needs to be replaced. When people speak, and you can only hear every other word, something is wrong. Jones tells me it is operator error, and plans to send Planning Commission members a memo indiucating they need to hold the button while speaking.