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Potential Litigation Settlement in Washington Twp.
Written by Mary Gibbs Kershner, Correspondent
2021-07-28

            The Washington Township Board of Supervisors voted on Thursday night to move forward with a settlement agreement of three separate lawsuits filed in the Berks County Court of Common Pleas against the township by developer Richard Mingey. 

            The settlement must be consistent with discussions held in the courtroom.

            On July 8th, Berks County Court of Common Pleas Judge Madalyn Fudeman mandated there must be a settlement of the three lawsuits filed by Richard Mingey.  Mingey has appealed actions and decisions rendered by Washington Township.  Judge Fudeman consolidated the three cases into one action.

            The developer, through his various entities which include Barto Industries, Barto Mall, and Kelly Builders/Shadeland Development, appealed a denial by the board of a conditional use to erect a clubhouse on land he owns along Kutztown and Schwenkenfelder roads. 

            In another case, the developer sued the township for a breach of its sewer and water agreement.  Additionally, the developer challenged the validity of Washington Township's enactment of an ordinance that revised its zoning map.  The developer owns several tracts of land that would be impacted by a settlement.

            Township Solicitor Joan London explained the settlement proposal would allow "limited development."  There must be adequate facilities for the developments.  The developer must abide by Washington Township subdivision and land development ordinances including wetland delineations.  The possible settlement will preserve open land and protect roads not designed for high traffic loads. 

London noted the settlement agreement, if all parties concur, must be reviewed by the board and voted upon at a public meeting. As yet, no date has been determined for a formal acceptance of the settlement proposal by the board.

Township Vice Chairman James Roma voted "No" to move forward with the settlement agreement. 

            The properties that the developer owns that will be able to move forward include 10 acres at 1606 Main Street, Bally that is located in Washington Township, approximately 168 acres along Schwenkenfelder and Kutztown Roads, a parcel along Old Route 100 in the Meadowbrook Development, and a section of land on Stauffer Road.

            Under the proposed settlement, property owned by the developer on Stauffer Road would be permitted two twin houses for a total of four units.  Along Old Route 100 in the Meadowbrook Development 32 townhouses would be allowed.  The property located on Main Street with a Bally address could have up to 48 age-restricted townhouses. 

Land along Kutztown Road owned by the developer has a potential for 37 single family houses.  A large parcel of 60 acres on Schwenkenfelder Road has the possibility for three large estate lots.  The farmhouse located on Schwenkenfelder and Kutztown Roads will remain with 45 acres.

            As yet, no development plans have been presented to Washington Township for any of the properties.  Sewer, water, access to the various sites via state, county, and local roads, and wetland issues are some of the hurdles every developer must face when a development is planned.  Because of subdivision and land development ordinances with which every developer must comply, even if a settlement is reached between Washington Township and the developer, there is no guarantee--once any of the developments file formal plans--that the maximum number of houses permitted under the agreement will be constructed. 

            Chairman Dave Moyer stressed, "Mr. Mingey, along with every person who comes before the Washington Township Board of Supervisors, will be treated fairly."


 

 

 

 

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