(12/6) By 2023, Liberty Township could be
more than 150 percent its current size if a settlement agreement reached
between the Liberty Township Supervisors and Wormald Companies is approved by
an Adams County judge.
The Liberty Township Supervisors released
the details of the agreement during their Dec. 4 meeting. Three years in
negotiations, the supervisors, Wormald Companies and 80 percent of the property
owners most affected by the development have signed off on the agreement.
“Originally, there were 1181 house
properties in the original plan,” said Supervisor Chairman Peter Foscato. “That
has now dropped to 499.”
In addition, the Liberty Estates section
of the 701-acre development has decreased from 106 houses to 70. All of the
houses in the new plan will be single-family homes with lots no smaller than
7,000 square feet rather than the mix originally proposed.
The new concept plan clusters the houses
more to create additional large areas of open space. In the Liberty Estates
design, 32 percent of the space is preserved and the open space plan has 60
percent of its space preserved.
“By us owning so many acres, what it’s
done is preserve 300-some acres in perpetuity,” Developer Ed Wormald said.
Overall, about 10 percent of the land is
expected to have an impervious surface, which is nearly half of what the
original plan called for.
“It provides areas for the rainwater to
regenerate our aquifer,” said Supervisor Vice Chairman John Bostek. “We took
that into account as we went through this.”
Though the number of houses in the plan
has been cut by more than half, residents still had concerns about the number
of houses and the impact of those houses on area wells and voiced them to the
“To add 200 homes, 500 feet from my house,
that worries me,” said resident Bill Arnold.
Pump testing for the Wormald wells will be
expanded beyond the typical timeframe to make sure the water usage from those
wells does not adversely affect neighboring wells. If it does, Wormald would
have to mitigate the impact. New roads will also be constructed without curbing
to encourage water to runoff the impervious surface and percolate through the
“It would appear that there is enough
water underneath this valley that three Wormald developments could go in,”
Liberty Township has 914 residents or
around 365 homes. The new Wormald plan for 569 houses or a 156 percent increase
over 15 years. No new homes would be constructed until the fifth year after
final approval of the final design.
Besides Wormald, Liberty Township is
expecting two additional development proposals, though none near the size of
Wormald. The Mirage development is for 42 houses and the Steel and Associates
projected size is 174 houses.
The agreement allows for some potential
tax benefits to current residents. “We have significantly reduced the number of
roads in this neighborhood that will come to a state or township road,” Foscato
He explained that because these roads will
be maintained by the homeowners’ association, current township residents will
not incur additional expenses to maintain the roads while new residents’ taxes
will help pay for current road maintenance.
One supervisor did see a possible cost
increase. “I could see our police department probably increasing,” Supervisor
Paul Harner said.
The signed agreement now goes before Adams
County Judge Michael George, who will have the final say.
Then and Now
A look at the original Wormald proposal and what was settled on.
Total residential acres
No. of houses – Open space plan 1181 various types
No. of houses – Liberty Estates 106 single-family
Impervious surface –
Preserved land – Open space plan
Preserved land – Liberty Estates
Source: December 4, 2007 Wormald Settlement Agreement overview.
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