Click on the following link to read all of Judge Clark’s Opinion
Brief filed by Newberry Township (Appellee):
Brief filed by Valley Green Residents Organization (Intervenors):
In a 19-page Opinion issued late today, Senior Judge Lawrence F. Clark, Jr. of the York County Court of Common Pleas ruled in favor of Newberry Township and VGRO in denying the Land Use Appeal brought by Golf Enterprises, Inc. (“GEI”). You can read the full Opinion at the following link:
More to come on this later, but this is a huge win for VGRO and our fight to keep the open space the Township has enshrined in its zoning and comprehensive plans for decades.
Thank you to everyone who has put so much effort into this since the beginning more than three years ago. Our work isn’t finished, but we’re now seeing what organized and committed residents can accomplish.
In December 2013, GEI filed a Curative Amendment Appeal challenging the validity of the Newberry Townships 2006 Zoning Ordinance, with regards to the open space classification of the golf course property.
On 10/15/2014, Judge Lawrence Clark requested that all three parties attempt to work out an agreement to settle the issue of open space with regards to the curative amendment. (Effectively removing the judge from making an all or nothing ruling for one party.)
Despite extensive negotiations between the parties over the last 10 months, representatives from the VGRO (Valley Green Resident’s Organization) board, the Newberry Township Board of Supervisors/Solicitor, and Golf Enterprises Inc. (GEI/McNaughton) could not reach a proposed settlement that was agreeable to all parties.
As a result, Judge Lawrence Clark will make a decision regarding the Curative Amendment Appeal that GEI filed. We believe that the risk of the supervisors’ decision being overturned is outweighed by the benefits of the court upholding the decision.
As always, your Valley Green Resident’s Organization Board will continue to fight for our Open Space and appreciates all of the continued support from everyone. We urge all of the residents to attend the monthly Board of Supervisors meeting and make known your position on this, and any other areas of concern, in your community.
The Judge recently requested that the parties (Golf Enterprises/Newberry Township/Valley Green Residents’ Organization) explore the possibility of an out-of-court resolution. VGRO’s position on this request is that it is in the best interest of the VGRO Board, and the community in general, to participate in the discussions to see if there is a reasonable compromise that can be reached. Depending on any potential settlement, nothing would be decided unless mutually agreeable between the Township and Golf Enterprises with the input of the community. Your Valley Green Resident’s Organization will continue to keep you informed.
At a standing room only Newberry Township Board of Supervisor’s meeting this evening, the Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to reject a zoning change proposed by Fran McNaughton and his development company, Golf Enterprises, Inc. McNaughton’s proposed change would have paved the way for the destruction of the Valley Green Golf Course and the development of more than 300 new housing units.
After a motion to reject McNaughton’s change was made by Supervisor Maxine Kauffman, three additional supervisors – Carl Hughes, Robert
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Conley, and Brandt Cook – joined in support of the motion. Supervisor Ernest Helmick was the lone vote in favor of McNaughton’s proposal.
The meeting was attended by more than 100 concerned residents including many VGRO members. “This a great win for residents of Newberry Township,” said LeeAnn Menut, President of Valley Green Residents Organization (“VGRO”). “We thank the four supervisors who listened to the wishes of their community. VGRO will continue to fight in the interest of local residents for the betterment of our township.”
The Patriot-News has posted video of the hearing with their article titled, “Newberry Township supervisors put kibosh on Valley Green Golf Course rezoning.”
The York Daily Record reported, “Valley Green Golf Course will remain open space.” And the York Dispatch explained, “Newberry supervisors say no to Valley Green rezoning.”
UPDATE: WHP CBS21 has run a story last night and this morning which can be viewed here, and the York Dispatch has added “Newberry Twp. Residents Praise Supervisors’ Decision.“
Once again, by request of McNaughton and Golf Enterprises, the start date of the hearing has been rescheduled.
As a reminder, the first night of the hearing will be dedicated to McNaughton’s presentation of the Curative Amendment request and testimony from his experts. As residents, we will be able to rebut his testimony, but will not be presenting our case until the second night of the hearing – a date yet to be determined.
As the fight
continues to span across the months, it’s imperative that we don’t lose momentum, and all remain actively involved. We’re asking residents to be on hand for each night of the hearing to present a united front against the Curative Amendment and proposed rezoning. As soon as we know more about the scheduling of hearings before the Board of Supervisors, we’ll post it here and send an email out to residents.
Thank you for your continued support and the continuous calls to the following, to let them know you do not support the rezoning of the
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Francis McNaughton, Sr. ………………………………….. (717) 234-4000
Board of Supervisors
Carl Hughes, Chairman …………………………………….. (717) 932-4264
It’s not only Newberry Township residents that recognize the importance of preserving the Township’s only designated Open Space. Adding to growing public outcry, the Patriot-News Editorial Board has voiced its opposition to McNaughton’s proposed destruction of the Valley Green Golf Course. In an editorial published today, the paper stated:
Prior generations zoned Valley Green as “open space” for a reason. They valued keeping that area green and mostly accessible to the public. It is the only official open space designation on the Newberry map. … Newberry Twp. residents and officials are asking the right questions. Is there really demand for more than 300 homes in this economy?
VGRO appreciates the well-reasoned support of the Patriot-News, and invites other editorial boards and opinion-makers to join the chorus of opposition to this disastrous development plan. We hope the Board of Supervisors recognizes the overwhelming public concern from not only their constituents, but also non-resident observers in the Mid-State area. Newberry Township should set an example
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to other area localities, as the Editorial Board suggested, “to start taking a closer look at balancing development with preserving open space.”
Despite the increasing momentum we’re seeing, Newberry Township residents cannot stop the fight until this plan is defeated. Please join our effort today by contacting us at email@example.com, follow us on Twitter at @keepthecourseVG, and make sure to check our Calendar for upcoming events. We need your help more than ever as we reach the critical stages of the process!