During their workshop meeting on Thursday, November 2, Northampton Borough Council voted to table their conditional use decision for proposed single family homes at the site of Fuller family-owned Willow Brook Farm.
The Northampton Planning Commission recommended that the council approve the plan for eleven single-family homes, following certain conditions. One of those conditions is that the Willow Brook Farm Trust post an escrow for a traffic light at Howertown Road and Fourth Street. However, a traffic light can cost at least $250,000.
Robert Dwyer, consultant for the Willow Brook Farm Trust, says the trust does not have the money for the escrow right now. In addition, the intersection as of now does not meet the warrants that would require a traffic light.
Dwyer says that the trust is not seeking to avoid responsibility, and will pay for their fair share of intersection improvements. However, he asked that council consider something else the trust can provide in lieu of an escrow, such as a lean or fee.
“The Fullers do not want to argue or fight,” said Dwyer. “All they want to do is protect their farm.”
Borough Solicitor Steven Goudsouzian agreed that the cost for a traffic light is a “big number.” However, he explained to council that the condition was made so that, if the trust does not make the intersection improvements, money is there to do so.
Dwyer says that, if the condition is required, the trust would have no choice but to withdraw their plan.
Council chose to table the decision and take it under advisement. All members of council agreed that more discussion is needed, while Dwyer said the trust plans to discuss alternatives with Goudsouzian in the interim. Council plans to return to their next meeting on November 16 with a decision.
Other news in Northampton:
- Residents of Newport Avenue stood before council to bring attention to a property owner who is blocking an on-street parking spot with a pile of gravel. This is the second time neighbors have stood before council.
In a letter, the borough’s code enforcement officer said the property owner is awaiting more materials for a wall construction project. However, neighbors say the gravel has been in the street for several months.
The code enforcement officer in his letter asked that “the people complaining have a little more patience.”
However, residents of Newport Avenue feel as though they have been patient for long enough.
“It is getting ridiculous,” they all agreed. “It is out of hand now.”
- Bernie Hahn of 29th Street stood before council and asked about drainage repairs to his street. He sent several emails to a borough individual about reviewing the plans and received no response.
He explained that water pools in the street and does not move to the storm sewers.
“Something needs to be done,” Hahn said. “We have patches upon patches on that street.”
Borough Manager LeRoy Brobst agreed.
“[What was done in the past] turned out very poorly,” he said. He believes the street is in need of a total redo.
Hahn’s only request?
“Let [us] do it right.”