Lower Frederick Approves Melbourne Hill Settlement

LOWER FREDERICK PA – A settlement negotiated between the developer of the proposed Melbourne Hill Estates housing community and the Lower Frederick Board of Supervisors, which its solicitor said gives the township control over how the development evolves while eliminating a risk of future legal costs, was unanimously approved Tuesday (Jan. 24, 2023) by the board during its scheduled workshop meeting.

The vote seemingly ends a years-long series of debates over how many units would be built, and under what circumstances, on acreage at the west side of Route 29 at Salford Station Road.

As has occasionally been the case in the township decision-makers’ many public meetings about Melbourne Hill, Tuesday night’s discussions were confrontational. Some audience members claimed supervisors were less than transparent in their dealings with the developer. One supervisor was accused of casting a vote despite an alleged conflict of interest.

A speaker’s suggestion that a board decision be delayed so the public could “have more time to participate” was met with applause.

Board Chair Marla Hexter replied supervisors had openly discussed their desire to settle the matter, and explained at length how the township would benefit, during the course of two earlier meetings. “There was absolute transparency,” she responded, and later shortened some commentary by saying she “would not let this meeting devolve into name-calling.”

“The property’s going to get developed one way or another,” Solicitor Peter Nelson observed. “For anyone to think this property’s not going to get developed is just delusional. They already own the property. They’re going to develop the property.” He noted that the settlement:

  • Ensures the township exercises specific control over the project’s design, density, and features;
  • Specifies what impacts and costs will be borne by the developer; and
  • Limits the developer’s ability to dictate aspects of the project based on earlier township approvals and by-right property uses.

The board’s acceptance of the settlement is contingent upon receiving a written and signed copy of the agreement from the developer.

Development rendering provided by Lower Frederick Township

Other coverage of the Lower Frederick supervisors’ Jan. 24 meeting:

Lower Frederick Honors Ralph Walters and His Passion
Before Lower Frederick supervisors got down to business Tuesday, they and members of their meeting audience voiced tributes to the late Ralph G. Walters, a passionate advocate for township open space.

Lower Frederick Approves Melbourne Hill Settlement
Lower Frederick supervisors Tuesday approved a negotiated settlement for development of the Melbourne Hill Estates community on Route 29 at Salford Station Road. It gives the township greater control over the project, their solicitor said.