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Published: Wednesday, 7/19/2006

Bedford Township puts subdivision on hold

BY BENJAMIN ALEXANDER-BLOCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

TEMPERANCE - The Bedford Township board has again put on hold a proposed subdivision on Erie Road just east of Lewis Avenue.

At the board's meeting last night, township Clerk Bob Schockman moved that the proposed development of Albring Farms be sent back to the planning commission for further review. His motion carried after the issue was discussed for nearly two hours.

The proposal contains 57 lots, a fraction of the subdivision planners' goal of 450 homes on 160 acres. If built in its entirety, it would be the largest subdivision in the township.

Mark Brant and Ron Blank of the developer Bedford Partners, LLC, said they'll file a writ of mandamus in Monroe County Circuit Court to compel the board to accept the proposal.

Their attorney, Kerry Bondy of Monroe, said it would probably take a few days to file the suit.

"We are going to court to force the township to obey their own planning and zoning ordinances and state law," Mr. Brant said. "The township has refused to see we are in the right, but I am confident that a judge will see it."

Only one of the developers' 80-acre parcels is zoned for subdivisions now.

Last August, the board rejected a rezoning request for the 80-acre parcel currently zoned for agriculture.

Mr. Brant and Mr. Blank have a lawsuit pending in Monroe County Circuit Court over that denial.

Last month, the board rejected a proposed plat for a subdivision project on the 80-acre parcel already zoned for subdivisions.

Resident Karen Flynn spoke twice during the meeting to voice her reservations about the development.

"I think in an unbalanced, hamstrung situation like this, [the township and the residents] must work together in a less guarded way so that no individual businessmen can pursue self-interest against the interest of the common good,"Ms. Flynn said.

She and other residents said they encouraged exploring "down-zoning," which might maintain the township's rural character by preventing further subdivisions.

The more than 40 residents in attendance applauded and urged the board to reject the developers' proposal.

"I know everyone is concerned about the litigation standpoint - maybe it will go there, maybe it won't," board member Rick Steiner said.

He said he was worried how taxpayers might feel about the litigation costs.

Board member Paul Francis congratulated his colleagues.

"We don't seem to bow to pressure and if lawsuits happen because of that, and we are in the right, I think we will prevail," he said.



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