Family Gets Conditional OK to Subdivide Silver Lake Parcel
Family Gets Conditional OK to Subdivide Silver Lake Parcel
Pike County Dispatch, Thursday, June 1, 2017 – pg. 5
by Wayne Witkowski
DINGMANS FERRY – Delaware Township Board of Supervisors gave conditional approval to an application for subdividing a 13.5 acre property in Silver Lake Estates owned by the Crowell family during last week’s meeting.
The board voted approval 2-0, with board Chairman Jeff Scheetz absent. It came after a nearly hour long hearing of testimony from attorney Timothy McManus of Stroudsburg, representing applicants for the subdivision, and challenging questions from Milford attorney Eric Hamill, representing neighboring homeowners who attending.
McManus was accompanied by property owner Nicholas Crowell, who resides in New Orleans with his wife, along with their daughter, who lives in New York, and engineer Sarah Bue Morris, who presented the plan blueprints.
Crowell is one of three brothers, along with Geoffrey, who lives in Philadelphia and visits a cabin on the property occasionally, and Christopher, who lives out of state. The family purchased the property as a getaway retreat during the 1970s.
“This has been a three-year process,” Crowell said after the approval. “All three of us are in our 70s. We will be gone sometime and we want to be sure this is set up as an inheritance for our family.”
The plan would divide the property into three lots, a pair of three-acre lots and one that would be 6.9 acres and include the cabin. Township requirements allow for only one home on each of the other two three-acre lots, with the cabin as the residence on the other lot.
Nearly all of the hearing centered around the condition of an approximately 800-foot stretch of Nyce Road, which is about a mile long and runs through the lakefront private community. Because it is a private road, residents maintain it, and the Crowell family needs to bring that part of the road fronting their property to township standards, mainly to accommodate emergency vehicles.
The agreement calls for lowering one side of the road and widening it before it is covered with a tar and chip surface. No other road could be built for the Crowell property.
“It’s all about the health, safety and welfare of residents,” said Delaware Township Planning Commission Chairman Len Glamann near the end of the hearing. “If something is not done about the road, it could cost somebody their life.”
To that end, the approval includes a development agreement, providing a road bond escrow for 110 percent of the actual cost that will be refunded to the Crowells at the completion of the work, a performance bond to be executed and a developer’s agreement for relocation of a 10 by 12 foot shed on the edge of one Crowell property line farther within the Crowell properties.
“We already have a contractor ready,” Crowell said of the road work.
A state Dept. of Environmental Protection study also calls for a 650 foot buffer around a bald eagle’s nest.
“We did extensive research and did not have proof of a bald eagle’s nest,” McManus said. “Removal of that (finding) involves information that takes time.”
But residents joining Hamill at the meeting were concerned about what it means for the length of road in front of their properties. One concern was answered whether the subdivision would allow for multiple housing on each lot. Supervisors clarified that issue.
“For my part of the road, will I be required to keep it up to township standards,” asked Emily McFarlane, one of the property owners represented by Hamill during the hearing.
“Not at this time,” said township Solicitor Thomas Farley of the apparent leading concern of the homeowners, but said that homeowners are responsible for the part of the private road fronting their properties.
Farley deflected questions by Hamill and alter by another resident of the implications this would hold for further development in the community.
“We’re only concerned with this application,” Mr. Farley said. “They would have to be approved and conditions would have to be met.”
It also was established at the meeting that if residents of a private community do not approve of the way a road is maintained by a neighbor or that there is inadequate snow removal in that stretch of road that they can seek legal court action with a mandatory injunction for that party to maintain the road.
IN OTHER MEETING MATTERS
The board approved road refurbishing and line painting for Chestnut Ridge Road to be advertised for bid, with a contract awarded at the June 28 meeting. The work, which would be in compliance with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation specifications, would be paid with the township’s state liquid fuels fund.
The board approved purchasing a replacement for a 6-foot sickle bar mower with hydraulic fold from Kremansky Equipment LLC for $4,000…Board members also approved $500 for the Delaware Township Library Association in response to its request for its annual subsidy. Supervisor John Henderson, board vice chairman who had chaired last week’s meeting, pointed out that the money already had been set aside in the current budget.
It also approved use of municipal ballfield for American Legion home games on seven dates in late May through June…It tabled approval to show a “Power Rangers” movie free to the public at Akenac Park on July 15 when Henderson questioned the $453 fee to rent it. Township Administrator Krista Predmore said the cost is for copyright to show it at a public park. The board would examine other possible movies.
During the workshop before the meeting, the supervisors discussed the Akenac Park playground’s Gravity Rail that has been taken out of service as a safety precaution because of problems with children riding it.
The rail, with a chair attached, is supposed to move young rides forward by momentum but it was pointed out that parents have to help push it along and may not want to do that. Henderson asked if the township can ask for a refund for that item and Predmore said her inquiry with the company has not been answered on that matter. “They told us they can fix it but we were not told what it is, so we’re in limbo,” said Farley.
Supervisors also discussed Akenac Park policies with a handout to the public, which includes a suggested $6 admission per person to Pennsylvania residents beyond Pike County and that out-of-state residents must be a guest of a Pike resident to be admitted. Henderson asked whether the fee should be lowered from $6 to $5 to make it manageable for the gatekeeper. He also questioned whether individual fees should be charged for use of certain amenities, such as a playground fee. Fees of $2 or $5 per resident were discussed.
Some residents said that there is enough burden with taxes and other expenses to ask residents to pay repeatedly during return visits to the park.
Henderson pointed out that the park may add other amenities in the future such as tennis courts that would need funding to help maintain them.