Evening Sun Reporter
spoke against the Liberty Valley planned
residential development proposed along Crum
and Pecher roads. No one supported the
1,181-unit development proposed by The
Wormald Companies of Frederick, Md.
Tentative plans for
Liberty Valley include estate homes,
townhouses, condominiums as well as a retail
center, horse stables, a new township hall,
recreation space and equestrian trails.
Even though township
residents have discussed residential growth
and large developments such as Liberty
Valley at recent planning commission
meetings, Monday's hearing was the first
chance for supervisors to hear from the
community. Since The Wormald Companies
submitted a development plan in July,
supervisors have not set aside time for
started at 4 p.m. Some residents brought
seat cushions to help them last until the
meeting's end at 10:45 p.m. At its peak, 80
mainly township residents listed the
reasons they felt supervisors should deny
Some said those
living on fixed incomes might not be able to
afford living in the township if taxes
increase to pay for road improvements, a
larger police force and a bigger school.
"I was born and
raised in Liberty Township," Stultz Road
resident Darlene Michael said. "I won't be
able to afford to die here."
Gannett Fleming, a
Camp Hill engineering firm working for the
developer, calculated Liberty Valley's
revenues would exceed its costs and generate
more than $3 million annually in tax revenue
for the district and the township. These
figures do not include costs for road
improvements or school expansions.
Fairfield schools superintendent Gary Miller
said he anticipates about 874 students from
Liberty Valley will enroll in the district.
This influx of students would require a new
$40 million school and $2 million for
additional staffing. The development would
increase the district's millage rate by 25
mills, Miller said.
With the district's
32.1-mill-tax rate, the owner of a $100,000
home paid $1,560 in taxes in 2003. The
possible tax increase would bring the same
homeowner's bill to $2,605.
During a break at
the hearing, Wormald vice president Ken
Wormald countered Miller's statistics.
Wormald said more students move into resale
homes than new homes. He estimated the
development would mean 283 new students for
the school district.
Liberty Township's quality of life will
change for the worse with the large
Pecher Road resident
Teresa Rodgers said Liberty Valley will rob
the area of its rural appeal and transform
the land into a concrete jungle.
"The plan is not
growth and it's not development," said Tract
Road resident Nancy Kepner. "It is
Stan Thorton, a
Pecher Road resident, lamented the loss of
wildlife, outdoor environment and
agricultural land for future generations.
Other residents said
they worried about increased traffic on
narrow, winding roads frequented by slow
farm vehicles and Liberty Valley's water
demands potentially draining their wells.
owners said portions of their land and
nearby roads flood after storms. They
speculated flooding would increase when
fields are paved for the development.
Save Our Liberty
co-chair Diane Bittle reminded supervisors
they must enforce the township's zoning in
the best interest of the public and protect
the citizens' health, safety, morals and
general welfare. Save Our Liberty is a group
of citizens opposed to Liberty Valley.
A public hearing set
for Wednesday is the last scheduled for
Liberty Valley. The developer and Save Our
Liberty will interview witnesses and there
may be time for more public participation,
township solicitor Walton Davis said.
and residents as well as officials from
neighboring municipalities can speak their
mind about the development. Others who want
to voice their opinions can send their
comments to the township office, Davis said.
The 6:30 p.m. meeting will be held in
Fairfield's fire hall, 106 Steelman St.
make their decision on the development
within 30 days after the hearing ends.
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