The state’s Office of Open Records has told Carroll Township it must prove why plans for a proposed development should be kept from the public.
The township denied a request from Carroll Citizens for Sensible Growth for a traffic impact study, stormwater management plan and architectural design standards for the proposed Village at South Mountain, a housing/commercial development across from Logan Park, near the Route 74 intersection with Route 15. The township says the documents will be used in “predecisional deliberations” and invoked a right-to-know law exception.
CCSG appealed to the OOR, which wrote to the township Aug. 21 and noted that the new right-to-know law makes documents public unless an agency can prove they should be private. “Kindly explain any and all factual and legal basis for withholding these records under the ‘internal predecisional deliberation’ exception,” the open records office wrote.
The township has until Monday to respond. After that, the OOR will rule on the appeal.
The denial, appeal and OOR’s letter are all here.
A recent story in the Dillsburg Banner quoted Carroll Township manager Dianne Price as saying that the township didn’t want to keep the plan’s details from the public, but agreed to it as part of the settlement of an ongoing conflict about the proposed development.
She said the agreement applies only to the preliminary plan, and the
residents will be able to see and comment on the final plan, the Banner
reported. In an e-mail, Deana Weaver, co-founder of CCSG, said the plan will be almost completely done by that time.
Township supervisors denied Dillsburg Ventures Inc.’s
plan in 2008, the Banner reported, because the developer had not
addressed the township’s concerns and requirements under its zoning
law. But the developer appealed to common pleas court and won; the
township lost on an appeal of that decision.
In February of
this year, the newspaper said, the developer offered to have the court
mediate a settlement based on a new preliminary plan. The supervisors
agreed, saying it was a better plan; for example, it eliminates a road
that would have gone from Logan Road to Route 15. But a condition of
the settlement was that the plans not be made public, the newspaper reported.