Wormald to present
supervisor's bias against development
Evening Sun Reporter
with the Wormald Companies claim Liberty
Township supervisor Paul Harner never liked
the company's plan to build 1,181 homes in
the rural Adams County township.
They also believe a
controversial 1985 change to the township's
zoning ordinances didn't forbid the type of
project Wormald wants to create in Liberty.
In a ruling dated
Monday, Adams County Judge Michael George
said he will allow them to present evidence
to back up both allegations Nov. 10.
The ruling is the
latest shot in a skirmish over the proposed
1,181-home development dubbed Liberty
supervisors rejected plans for the large
Liberty Valley development that had been
submitted by Wormald Companies of Frederick,
The community was
planned for 445 acres along Crum, Tract and
Pecher roads. Tentative plans called for
estate homes, townhouses, condominiums as
well as a retail center, horse stables, a
new township hall, recreation space and
Harner and John Miller voted to deny the
plans because they believed planned
residential developments, such as the
Liberty Valley proposal, were banned
throughout the township in 1985.
Miller and Harner
based their votes on supervisors' 1985
decisions to remove all special exceptions
from their zoning ordinances. Planned
residential developments - communities with
a mix of housing types clustered together -
had been allowed previously, but only as a
defining planned residential developments
remained part of the township's zoning
ordinance until the month before the denial,
when supervisors removed that language.
Wormald attorney James Strong said retention
of that language by supervisors in 1985
means they wanted to leave guidelines for
construction of planned residential
Strong said this
point will be pounded home at the hearing,
as well as evidence of bias against the
project, and all development projects, by
Harner ran his
campaign for supervisor as a vocal critic of
large housing developments. He was elected
on a write-in ticket in the period between
the plan's submission and rejection.
Strong said numerous
newspaper stories quoting Harner and his
paid political advertisements will buttress
this alleged bias.
"All of that will be
used to show his bias," Strong said.
comment on the claim, but said he'd address
it at the hearing.
"I'll respond to it
in court," he said.
Also in the ruling,
George denied a request by the residents
group Save Our Liberty to state their case
in the appeal.
Save Our Liberty
formed as a result of the proposed
community. Members voiced a wide range of
concerns about the development, which had
the potential to triple the township's
But Save Our Liberty
members will still play a role in the
appeal. Fourteen landowners who are members
of the group have been approved by George to
voice their opposition in the appeal
Two businesses that
oppose the development have also been
approved: Mid-Atlantic Soaring Association
and Ruppert Family LP.
Still, Save Our
Liberty co-chairman Bill Packer wishes the
group could be recognized as a whole, the
way it was at the municipal level.
Packer said. "As a group, we've played a
fundamental role in this so far."
The Nov. 10 hearing
is set for 2 p.m. A date for the appeal
hearing has not been set.
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