Zoning Board Hearing – July 13, 2020
The Zoning Board again tried to hold a hearing on the Tadmoor Project at Gun Club Road, but it was not to be. The first meeting, on June 23rd, only lasted a few minutes after the Solicitor recused himself for a conflict of interest.
Board Members Chairman Andrew Bohl, Vice Chairman Keith Haverstock, Mark Stewart and William Whyte (Alternate) approved the appointment of Richard Roberts as Interim Solicitor.
Request for a Continuance to reschedule the meeting
Counsel for the Citizens Group, Attorney Rust, was not in attendance, but participated by phone. Technical problems with feedback and echoes made it very hard for those in attendance to hear what he was saying. The court reporter moved her equipment closer to the computer as the Board members all huddled around in an attempt to make out what Mr. Rust was saying. Rust reported that he was self-quarantining due to an order from the governor because he returned from a vacation in South Carolina on July10th – a hot spot for COVID-19. He requested a Continuance, claiming an in-person hearing was in the best interest of his clients.
Attorney Durso, representing the developer, objected, complaining about the time already spent on this issue and stating that Mr. Rust had left for his vacation after the governor had issued his order.
Attorney Asteak, representing the Zoning Officer said that issues of jurisdiction could be handled because no testimony would be required and asked for the Hearing Board to address preliminary issues. He also complained about this issue having lingered for too long.
In rebuttal, Mr. Rust said his vacation had been planned a year ago and he hadn’t heard about the governor’s order until after he’d left Pennsylvania. He disagreed with Mr. Asteak that this was a simple matter and requested a 2 week continuance.
Comments from the Public
- A resident of Gun Club Road stated that the technical challenges in the room prevented a fair hearing
- A member of the Citizen’s Group said this was an important issue and the Citizen’s Group needed their attorney to be present to get a fair hearing.
- A resident from Bath Pike told the Board he was hard of hearing and couldn’t understand Rust over the phone.
- A resident pointed out that the process concerning Tadmoor project has been going on for two years and that another two weeks shouldn’t matter as this was one of the biggest projects ever proposed for the township.
- Two residents reported problems with getting on-line for the meetings
- A member of the Citizen’s Group said that, if the Board denied their attorney the right to participate in person, they would be denying his clients due process
- A resident pointed out that the June 23rd meeting was delayed due to the Solicitor recusing himself and that the public was understanding about it. The Board should be understanding now.
- Someone watching the meeting online complained about the audio
The Zoning Hearing Board voted to set the final date for the meeting as July 27, 2020 at 6:30 PM.
Some housekeeping was conducted after this announcement where the three attorneys discussed and came to an agreement on exhibits that would be presented on July 27th.