January 17, 2003
Attendees: Steering Committee: Don Keener – LWT Manager, John Klinedinst – LWT Engineer, Dave Keiter – LWT Solicitor, Mark Platts – Platts Simon Consulting, Representative Stan Saylor, Jo Anna Shovlin, Nadine Hubner - Senator Michael Waugh’s Office and the following:
Michael Schneider - Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR), Keith Gillespie, State Representative – 47th District, Jackie Kramer – Executive Director – Farm & Natural Lands Trust, and Felicia Dell – Director York County Planning Commission (YCPC).
Introductions: Don Keener, chairperson of the Lower Windsor Township (LWT) steering committee opened with introductions. He announced that Mark Platts has been named Lancaster-York Heritage Region’s first Executive Director effective February 3, 2003. Don then turned the meeting over to John Klinedinst for comments.
John Klinedinst presented a detailed update of the recent submitted plan for a massive, 654 – home subdivision on the Lauxmont Farm. Laura Kohr, wife of the late Ronald Kohr, owns the property, according to the plans. The trustee for Ronald Kohr’s estate, Leon P. Haller and Archie Kohr, are also listed as applicants. The plan calls for 506 homes on 185 acres, including 113 single-family houses and 393 townhouses, and an additional 148 single-family homes on 144.5 acres. The plans were submitted shortly before the township is set to finalize its first zoning ordinance. The new ordinance would limit the number of lots and lot sizes in developments too much fewer and larger lots than the proposed project. In addition, the entire Lauxmont Farms property would be set aside as agricultural. Due to the fact the housing proposal was submitted before the zoning ordinance was adopted, state law prohibits enacting zoning, which would outlaw the project. He also mentioned there are four proposed plans, three that LWT is aware of. The fourth plan is a mystery and so far LWT is not privy to.
Mr. Haller expressed to LWT residents that this project was submitted to “preserve the right of the land and creditors on behalf of the Kohr Family”. He has indicated that there is no “Sales Agreement” with a builder but Mr. Klinedinst and Attorney Keiter find this hard to believe.
Mr. Klinedinst did inform the committee that since the project has been submitted, many agencies and organizations have now become involved in objection to this project. LWT residents desiring to preserve the land due to archeological artifacts on the land recently formed a task force. They are known as Susquehanna River Hills Task Force. Archeologists Paul Nevin and Jan Klinedinst said residents of the Onondaga Reservation, south of Syracuse, N.Y., and some local American Indians, met with the task force. The American Indians, including Onondaga chief Billy Laseur, oppose the proposed development. Mr. Klinedinst stated that with the Indian Nation the federal government would possibly now get involved. With this hold on the project, maybe a deal can be negotiated with Mr. Haller.
Representative Saylor stated that Jacke Kramer and Mark Platts should contact Mr. Haller an dsee if this is possible. Mr. Platts stated that since he is still listed as LWT’s consultant there might be a conflict of interest. Representative Saylor stated that Mark could represent his new agency. Everyone was in agreement. Mr. Platts stated that since his appointment does not become effective until February 3rd; he could contact the board members or specially Tom Wolf – President of Lancaster-York Heritage Region’s and run the idea by him for approval.
Representative Saylor stated that he had a meeting with the Allfirst area Vice President, who was listed as a creditor on the bankruptcy. The bank informed him that the bank’s debt has been paid.
Mr. Klinedinst informed everyone he was told the following creditors list:
· $2 million dollars – secured creditors
· $1 million dollars – Engineering
· $1.50 million dollars – Priority Creditor (i.e. Department of Revenue, IRS)
· $2 million dollars – Unsecured
With this information, Representative Saylor stated, “something is wrong, and he would like to ask for an investigation through the Attorney General’s office. This entire deal, proposal and especially Leon Haller collecting a fee as the Trustee and now listed as the developer on this proposal”.
A discussion was held on Acquisition by LWT under condemnation:
Mr. Klinedinst stated, “Acquisition by LWT under condemnation must be for a clear purpose (clear need for taking), and the offer must be fair market”. It was mentioned that LWT has $9 million dollars in Tipping Fees that could be used to purchase the land. At this time, Attorney Keiter stated, “that as long as he is Solicitor, he would not support or recommend this process. This process is a sensitive matter and there very well could be problems from this action. LWT could open itself to a legal issues and end up in federal court”.
Mr. Klinedinst stated that LWT is not in a hurry since the Task Force and Indian Nations are now involved. And once the Federal Government gets involved the subdivision plan could be tied up in court.
Representative Saylor stated that he put $14 million dollars in the State Capital Improvement Budget but it will need the Governor’s approval. He has spoken briefly with State Representative Steve Stetler – 95th District about the Lauxmont Farm Project. He stated he supported the Baseball Stadium and this could open the door for negotiations for his support. He will speak with Representative Stetler in more detail after the new Governor takes office and also with the York County Delegation to seek their support.
Mark Platts to contact Congressman Platts to get his office involved in this project in regard to the Indian issue.
Mark Platts to discuss with the Board of the Lancaster-York Heritage Region to get their approval so he and Jackie Kramer can speak with Trustee, Leon Haller, to see if a proposal to secure the farm can be reached.
Mrs. Shovlin would email both Mr. Platts and Mrs. Kramer, Mr. Haller’s telephone and address.
It was agreed that once Mr. Platts and Mrs. Kramer meet with Mr. Haller, they would contact Mrs. Shovlin to set the date for the next meeting of the committee.
Meeting closed at 11:21 a.m.
Respectfully submitted by
Jo Anna Shovlin
Representative Saylor’s Office
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