A consultant hired by the owner of the 50-acre Klockner Woods tract knew that a portion of the land the developer hoped to build on was wetlands and would not be suitable for home building, state records show.
A 2004 letter to state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) officials from the consultant, John Szczepanski of Nova Consultants, included a swath of wetlands on the map of the area where owner Fieldstone Associates had hoped to build. The additional wetlands would make at least three houses impossible to build.
But despite the addition of the wetlands, Fieldstone never removed the three homes from the concept plan for its development submitted to local officials in March 2004. The number of possible houses ultimately determined the price the township paid for the land.
Hamilton Mayor Glen Gilmore says that "If it turns out the developer was telling us one thing and telling the DEP another, that to me would be a breach of fairness and we would certainly ask the court to reassess the terms of the agreement."
I certainly hope so.
The clock is ticking; as of Sept. 1st, interest is owed by the Township to the developer at a rate of $27,000 a month. The Township is hoping the developer will forgo the interest provided the deal goes through as planned. (Try that line next time you're late on a mortgage payment: "Oh, I'm sorry. I hope you'll forgo the interest since I will pay you someday.") They're still waiting for the survey that Hamilton commisioned, which should be done in the near future.