A discussion between Summit Ridge developer Bill Grant and Mahoning Township supervisors ended in an impasse on Monday evening with two weeks left until the $1.3 million letter of credit for the development expires when Grant walked out of the meeting frustrated at not being able to get a reduction in the amount of the letter.
The difference of opinion between Grant and supervisors rests in the cost of the work which still needs to be completed for the development and the ten percent increase that will automatically be applied when the letter is renewed.
"This letter of credit is 1.3 million dollars including part of that which is in the woods.I'm paying taxes for the property in the woods that is not going to be done," Grant said.He told the supervisors there were 26 lots planned in the wooded section that he is does not see being developed due to the slump in the housing market.
He told supervisors that he was trying to get the properties in that section of the Summit Ridge development reassessed as open land which would reduce the value for the lots to $3,000 from $9,000 and reduce property taxes accordingly. If this is done, Grant said he believed he would be able to handle the financial obligations.
"We want to move the sub-division forward, I just need help," he said.Grant said he wants to move the plan into two phases instead of having it all as one phase which was how it was approved.
Grant said his understanding of the land development code was that the cost did not have to increase 10 percent each year if the costs do not increase, but supervisors had a different opinion.
"It's going to have to increase by 10 percent each year," said Supervisor Bruce Steigerwalt."You told us you were never going to put lots in (the wooded area) and that you would come back with a revised plan."
Grant denied he ever promised to revise the plans.
Steigerwalt was referring to a meeting last December when the letter first came up for a renewal. At that meeting which mirrored Monday's meeting, Grant was told by the board that in order to reduce the letter of credit the plans would need to be revised to reflect his dropping the wooded lots from the development or not developing them until a later phase.By making those changes, the infrastructure requirements would be reduced enabling the letter of credit to be reduced.
During the discussion supervisors learned Grant apparently did not make any revisions to the original plans.
When Supervisor Frank Ruch questioned why there were no revisions, Grant replied that he was tied up with attorneys fighting for a reassessment of the wooded properties all year.