Open letter to Milford Township Supervisors (and Planning Commission)
To the Editor:
Regarding the high-density housing on the 3-lane, Legend Properties' development of Santos Farm and the impact on Pike County taxpayers at the hands of Milford Township Supervisors:
In response to public comments at recent Milford Township meetings and increased online discussion regarding the project, Blue Ridge Cable News 13 did a news story on the Legend Properties development proposal for Santos Farm. Tricia Lutfy and I presented our concerns regarding the project (zoning and density changes, public safety and traffic) while Supervisor Gary Clark represented the Township by comparing the development to Prime Time and Wheatfield Village, as "sort of the same thing but on sort of a little bit larger scale."
Supervisor Clark's statement is inaccurate at best, misleading and irresponsible at worst. The number of units included in Legends housing proposal is incrementally disproportionate with any other in the Township. The Legend plan is not self-contained. It relies on a variance to current Township zoning limits to proceed (as well as central sewerage) and it relies on a different set of standards than the area appropriate rules that have been applied to taxpayer properties for years. With several undeveloped properties (across from Prime Time and Econopak, across from Milford Chrysler, across from and next to PCLandP) along the 3-lane, the density concern goes well beyond Santos Farm. Density changes to permit the Legend project will set precedence by which any of these other lots may be developed. The new standards will compound congestion that will dramatically change and potentially cripple Milford Township and neighboring municipalities. As stated in the news story, increased density will create unsustainable changes for our community.
The BRC TV13 news piece aired on Thursday, June 6, and the online version of BRCTV13's story has been viewed 1,800+, compared with any average of 200-300 views on stories from the same newscycle. Clearly, the public is interested, looking for answers about how this project will impact them and wants to know how the Township is prepared to handle the inevitable challenges that all of Pike County will face as a result of it. Milford Township residents are understandably concerned about how this high density housing project will impact their taxes as opposed to more fiscally responsible development of the same property, with greater emphasis on creating a commercial tax base including jobs for our local workforce instead of high density housing for commuters and the implied costs of adding residents, students to the Delaware Valley School District and public services to our already limited resources.
The taxpayers and residents of Milford Township deserve to be heard and invited to participate in this process and Milford Township deserves a more sustainable long-term plan. Please don't rubber stamp the Legend Properties proposal or any project that will hurt Milford Township property owners. Oddly enough, at the last Supervisors meeting, there was extensive clarification about a basic horse run-in/storage shed on the GAIT property. You have a responsibility to hold the Legend Properties proposal to the same standard that is applied to all Milford Township plans. If you're going to scrutinize property lines, setbacks, plantings and conditions for use of a simple shed impacting 2 property owners on Foster Hill Road, please apply that same scrutiny to a 100+ unit housing development that will impact all Pike County taxpayers as well as the thousands who have no choice but to pass through any new development along this critical Rte 6 and 209 corridor, the lifeline of our community.
High Density Housing in Milford Township will have an irreversible impact on Township taxpayers and all Pike County stakeholders, and any changes to zoning to accommodate this development is the sole responsibility of Milford Township Supervisors. Please reassure those whose interests you were elected to represent that the benefits will outweigh the burden of this project in Milford Township, or pass on the Legend Properties proposal.
With all due respect and genuine concern, please consider our community first and foremost.