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Washington Township Suing Developer
Written by Allison Czapp, Correspondent

            A local developer who once gave Washington Township $1 million to help pay for the troubled sewer authority now faces a lawsuit from the township for not connecting homes to the system.

            Officials voted 2-1 to pursue litigation against Rotelle Development Company, which is building the Bally Springs development. The motion to move forward with the lawsuit was made by Supervisor Vice Chair David Moyer and seconded by Supervisor Ernest Gehman. Board President James Roma voted against the legal action, which had been discussed in an executive session prior to the meeting.

            Officials said that Rotelle has refused to pay $69,000 worth of non-connect fees over the course of several years.

            According to Township Manager Richard Sichler, Rotelle purchased 47 EDUs to reserve sewer capacity for homes that have not yet been built on the site and there are seven other homes being completed that aren't connected to the sewer lines yet. The township charges an annual fee for people who purchase EDUs but do not use them. The fee is $415 per year per EDU.

            CEO Peter Rotelle called the board action "disgusting," noting his previous efforts to help the township by donating the $1 million to address sewer costs. He said he is struggling to profit off homes built in the development because of the high taxes in the township, which are directly related to the sewer troubles. He claimed that he is currently selling houses at cost so people will hook up to the system and taxes can decrease.

            "I think it's a gross disservice to the constituents of the township," Rotelle said, adding that in 30 years of business, this is the first time he will face litigation.

            According to Rotelle, he offered to split the non-connect fee with the borough, but officials refused. 

"We charge the other residents for their non-connect fees," said township Solicitor Dan Becker, who added that the borough was only being fair.

            In other news, Pine and Weinsteiger roads will be closed in the township Oct. 10 and 11 for paving, weather permitting.

            Moyer also called on the board to provide training for the municipal workers to receive safety training and equipment for excavation situations. Moyer said he witnessed unsafe practices at a recent sewer break on Route 100.

            Also at the meeting James Treichler, owner of Wendy's Flowers on Route 100, questioned supervisors about who was responsible for certain features that were damaged or removed by contractors working on the traffic light project. Treichler said issues include fencing, landscaping and grading of the entrance and exit at Wendy's, as well as signage issues at Shrum's, also on Route 100, which was forced to change its entrance due to the project.

            Supervisors will hold budget meetings on Oct. 16 and 17 at 6 p.m. at the township building. The next regular board meeting will be Oct. 26.






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