Evening Sun Reporter
06, 2003 - Liberty Development Corp.
withdrew plans for its controversial
1,140-housing unit development Wednesday
night, but the company has submitted two
alternate plans to develop both sides of the
original tract of land.
The latest two plans
are separated by a narrow strip of land that
may bisect the original 770-acre property.
The original plan
for The Community of Liberty covered nearly
710 acres along Tract and Pecher roads.
Preliminary plans included townhouses and
single-family homes ranging from $200,000 to
$500,000, an equestrian center, walking and
riding trails, a shopping area and a new
A citizens group,
Save Our Liberty, formed in opposition to
the development, arguing it would destroy
the township's rural character.
stopped public hearings for the Community of
Liberty to resolve the "title issue" of a
strip of land resident John Tomko says he
owns. The plans called for a planned
residential development, which requires one
contiguous piece of land.
night's supervisors' meeting, Ed Wormald,
director of operations for The Wormald
Companies, said the developers withdrew
Community of Liberty plans "for the good of
the township." The Wormald Companies owns
Liberty Development Corp.
"We wanted to pursue
one plan at a time," he said.
Tomko said he met
with representatives with The Wormald
Companies, and he still owns the land. He
declined to talk about their meeting.
In the meantime,
Liberty Development Corp. submitted plans in
September for the eastern portion of the
proposed development Liberty Valley. On
Oct. 15, plans were submitted for 106 homes
on the western portion of the land, a
project to be known as Liberty Estates.
Combined, the plans include 147 more homes
than the original Community of Liberty.
includes 1,181 houses on about 445 acres
along Crum and Tract roads. The plan calls
for a retail center, a community center,
horse stables, open space, sports fields and
equestrian, walking and biking trails.
The community calls
for 596 single-family homes, 278 of which
will be "empty-nester homes;" 20 estate
custom homes, 273 townhouses and 312
Liberty Valley, a
14-phase development, is to open in 2006
with 13 townhouses and 35 single-family
houses if approved. Each building phase will
start by 2016 and the site will be built-out
average $155,000, townhouses will average
$215,000 and single-family homes will range
from $245,000 to $325,000. Estate and manor
homes will range from $295,000 to $380,000.
includes more than 75 acres of "prime farm"
soil in the northern part of the parcel; 14
acres will be preserved in the development's
Plans for Liberty
Estates, a subdivision and not a planned
residential community, were not available at
the township office. At a previous public
hearing, Wormald outlined the plans for
Liberty Estates, saying the development will
include 106 homes on two-acre lots and will
not include walking and riding trails that
created a buffer between the original
development and neighboring lots.
He said he prefers
the original Community of Liberty Plan over
the combined Liberty Valley and Liberty
Estates plans. The original plan has a
greater number of single-family homes, which
are preferable in the current housing
market, Wormald said.
If only one
development is approved, it will still be
built, he said.
The township will
hold the first Liberty Valley public hearing
6:30 p.m. Nov. 24.
Wednesday's meeting wanted time to allow the
township's planning commission, engineer and
Adams County Office of Planning and
Development to review the plans and make
recommendations before the hearing was
"We want to follow
the law and we want enough time to do it
well," said planning commission member Peter
Walton Davis added the township has plenty
of time to receive recommendations, even if
the hearings start before the
recommendations are complete. During the
first two public hearings held for The
Community of Liberty, the lengthy testimony
did not allow attorneys to address the
recommendations before the hearings were
The township must
hold a public hearing for the Liberty Valley
plan within 60 days of its submission, or
Nov. 29, Davis said. If the hearings are
scheduled after the deadline, the developer
could file an appeal and Liberty Valley
would be automatically approved.
Members of the
audience claimed the 60 days didn't start
until Wednesday, when the developer
submitted additional information to the
But the township's
zoning ordinance does not require a complete
plan, Wormald attorney James Strong said.
And Davis said the township couldn't delay
the hearing because the plan was incomplete.
"This is too
important to make a test case," Davis said.
scheduled two more public hearings Wednesday
night. The first, 7 p.m. on Jan. 5, will
cover the planning commission's 3-2
recommendation to eliminate planned
residential developments from the current
zoning. Those developments are not included
in the township's proposed zoning ordinance,
which planning commission members should
complete by Nov. 19.
The second public
hearing, 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 13, was scheduled
to discuss the township's proposed zoning
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