Monday night was supposed to be the time when the residents of Bear View, Penn Forest Township, finally got to address the township planning board on the matter of the NAVITAT Adventure Canopy which includes a zip line that is being proposed for Penn Forest Township and Jim Thorpe Borough.
The residents turned out to be heard, occupying the meeting room, hallways, vestibule and driveway of the Penn Forest Township municipal building.
There were a handful of people representing Navitat-Bear Creek, LLC in attendance, as well as members of the planning commission.
The rest were residents of Penn Forest Township, with most were from Bear View.
There were some from Sunrise Ridge, Bear Lake and Marty Axeman developments as well.
The general consensus among the residents in attendance was that they oppose the use of Bear Creek Drive to access the property intended for use by Navitat.
The property in question is owned by Scott and Christina Dietrich.
William Miller, who resides in Bear View, held a petition in opposition to the application.
"We only started the petition in the last day or two and we already have over 170 signatures," said Miller.
In a letter to the Penn Forest Planning Commission and the township supervisors, Catherine Durso, attorney for Navitat-Bear Creek LLC., discussed the use of Bear Creek Drive, stating in part that the title search turned up that "the subject property has the right to use Bear Creek Drive to access the Dietrich property in common with the other users of the road. There is no limitation on the right of access, i.e. it is not limited to a specific use or a specific number of users."
The letter goes on to state the company's position "Property owners along Bear Creek Drive have no right to prevent access by Navitat for its facility as Navitat would be the Dietrich's tenant."
The NAVITAT Adventure Canopy is an eco-tourism business that was started in Asheville, N.C. in 2010. The company opened a second zip line tour in Wrightwood, Calif. According to the company's website, Navitat is the combination of navigation and habitat. The site describes the experience as "viewing the world from high in a massive tree or watching a bird fly below you as you traverse a sky bridge is unlike anything you have ever experienced."
The meeting was scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m., a few minutes after that time township and planning board solicitor Gregory Mousseau addressed the crowded room.
"On behalf of Penn Forest Township we really appreciate your coming out this evening, but as you can see there are more people here for what I believe is the main issue this evening which is the Navitat application … you have a right to hear what is going on … there isn't enough room in the building," stated Mousseau.
He went on the say that "on behalf of Navitat, they want everyone to be able to see their presentation and that the board wants to give everyone who wishes to speak an opportunity to not only speak, but to be heard, and that cannot be done under these conditions."
Mousseau then announced that the meeting had been rescheduled for Thursday, Nov. 1, at 6:30 p.m. at Penn Forest 1 Fire Company, located on Route 903.
Attorney Durso also addressed the crowd, inviting anyone who had questions about what Navitat is to check out the company's website www.Navitat.com.