Response letter to the Bucks County Courier Times Article
published October 25 with the headline, “175 townhomes approved for Spring Mill CC development.”
Last November 28th, JUDD Builders held an informational meeting at the Fuge in Warminster to present plans for a “by-right” R-1 zoned 138 single family home development on the entire 185 acre Spring Mill Country Club Property in Northampton Township.
It looked like the community was again going to be steamrolled by a developer. But the 225 concerned resident attendees strongly pushed back, voiced their concerns and noted that the R-1 development of a recreational uses zoned property was a “conditional right” subject to review and possible rejection by the Northampton Township supervisors.
After some behind-the-scenes contacts JUDD Builders invited four concerned residents to a meeting for discussions on a possible alternative plan. A mutually agreed upon memorandum of understanding was signed by Mr. DePaul, owner of JUDD Builders, wherein he agreed that if the community residents would provide support that secured supervisor approval of zoning changes and development plans for 175 townhomes on 30 acres of the Spring Mill property, he would place a conservation easement on the 155 acre golf course that would keep it as a recreational green space in perpetuity.
The concerned residents group did, in fact, secure and present to the supervisors 891 resident and 470 non-resident signatures in support of the alternative plan. A township study showed that the 175 townhouses would produce less traffic than 138 single-family homes.
This past Wednesday, the Northampton Township supervisors approved zoning changes and preliminary plans for the Spring Mill property that conformed to the MOU. The approval was contingent upon placement of a conservation easement and acceptable completion of construction plans.
This is a very rare win-win-win situation: The Spring Mill members get to keep their golf course, the township residents get – at no cost to them- a 155 acre recreational green space in perpetuity, and the property owner gets its development.
Kudos to all the residents who supported this alternative plan and special thanks to Mr. DePaul, owner of JUDD Builders for considering and agreeing to the alternative plan. Not many developers would agree to develop only 16 per cent of its property and to place a no-build conservation easement on the 84 per cent balance of the property.
The township-approved Spring Mill development demonstrates that reasonable people can work out a compromise that benefits all.
Ron Zemmick is and Ivyland resident