The Planning & Zoning Commission is expected to consider a settlement agreement with the developers Oxford Greens, which filed a court appeal over conditions P&Z placed on future development of the project.
The commission will meet at 7:30 tonight at Town Hall to discuss the settlement agreement, a copy of which is attached to this article.
Timberlake Development Partners, developers of the 55 and older residential/golfing community and Oxford's fifth highest taxpayer, filed an appeal at Superior Court claiming P&Z imposed unfair and unlawful conditions on a recent proposal, which modifies the conceptual site plan for the rest of the development and eliminates two parcels of land that the developer did not acquire.
On Feb. 2, the P&Z Commission approved Timberlake’s proposal to modify the conceptual plan, contingent upon Timberlake fulfilling 10 conditions. Timberlake says four of those conditions are not within the purview of the P&Z to impose in part because they involve work on or inclusion of property that Timberlake does not own, according to the appeal.
“Therefore, the conditions effectively constitute a denial of the plaintiff’s application for modification of the conceptual development plan and improperly prohibit uses of the plaintiff’s properties that are otherwise permitted by the defendant’s zoning regulations,” the appeal states.
In the appeal filed at Superior Court, Timberlake, which is represented by Dominick J. Thomas Jr. of Derby, is asking the court to declare the following conditions null and void:
- All conditions of the previously approved Master Conceptual Development Plan for Oxford Greens and all other approved plans for Oxford Greens, shall remain in effect.
- The Master Conceptual Development Plan shall be modified from that of the application to include all the properties known as Parcel A and D with each of those properties allocated the maximum number of dwelling units as required in Article 5A, Section 3 within 30 days of this approval. This shall be submitted to the Planning & Zoning Department.
- The applicant shall submit three complete copies of the set of plans which reflect these conditions of approval, including an electronic copy.
- This approval includes Parcels A & D.
The first issue Timberlake Development has with these conditions, according to the lawsuit, is that the development company does not own Parcels A or D. Parcel A is owned by Kerski Associates and Parcel D is owned by Opal Ridge Development Co., LLC, according to Oxford land records. Those owners have no rights in the Oxford Greens Community and the parcels are not, in any way, a part of the Oxford Greens community, according to the appeal.
At one point, Timberlake was under contract to purchase Parcels A and D, but Timberlake never bought them, the appeal states.
Because Timberlake never purchased those properties, the appeal states Timberlake cannot fulfill other conditions imposed by the Planning & Zoning Commission in years past. Those conditions include, but are not limited to, Timberlake conveying a parcel of land to the town that is within Parcel A; transfer of ownership to the town of Towantic Pond, which is within Parcel A; requirements of Timberlake to repair the pond; Timberlake was told to apply to the state to construct a right of way on the Larkin Bridle Trail, which is within Parcel A; and the purchase of a $350,000 fire truck which the P&Z Commission wanted because of the additional people and homes brought to town in part because of development on Parcel A.
The appeal states, “The inclusion of Parcels A and D into the approval by virtue of the conditions imposed by the (P&Z commission) is tantamount to giving a ‘veto power’ to any modification of the conceptual development plan by land owners whose property is not owned by the plaintiffs (Timberlake). Forcing the plaintiffs to incorporate Parcels A and D, which are not owned by the plaintiffs, into the conceptual development plan for the Oxford Greens Community is a violation of Article 4, subsection 2, of the Zoning Regulations of the Town of Oxford, which requires that any application must have the permission of the landowner of the parcel(s) covered by the application.”
And the appeal states there is no legal basis for Timberlake to file a conceptual site plan for the Oxford Greens Community.
The P&Z decision on Feb. 2 allows Timberlake to develop attached, single family dwellings, or those that share a wall with another home (currently, all units in the development are detached).
*See the full appeal attached to this article as a PDF.