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Forks Fears "Cottage in Woods" Decision

Forks Township officials fighting perception over demolishing controversial "Cottage in the Woods."

Forks Township Supervisor John O'Neil hears about it almost every day.

Someone will ask him what is going to happen to the

"I get multiple emails about it," O'Neil said. "People stop me in stores. It's like wildfire, the feedback that we're gonna knock it down."

For months, the Board of Supervisors has discussed the fate of the "Cottage in the Woods" at 700 Zucksville Road. And with every discussion comes mention about not making a decision.

In a sense, supervisors want to see how this hand plays out.

Various community groups like the and township's historical society have come forth expressing interest in saving the property and refurbishing it as a meeting house or place to showcase exhibits.

But it might cost $23,000 to save the building, which is filled with mold and in decay with smashed windows and withering walls. Palmer/Forks Patch recently got an the cottage. The cottage has been dormant for the past few years.

Supervisor Robert Egolf, during a recent work session, urged his colleagues "to hold off a little" on making a decision about the cottage, with construction of the public works building currently a priority.

Cornell said momentum is building to save the cottage in regard to fundraising and collaborative efforts to utilize it.

"The public has this fear, though, that we're going to knock it down tomorrow," O'Neil said. "We're not ready to take it down anytime soon."

Rob Leiser September 05, 2012 at 01:19 PM
If I am correct this is all about building a Parking Lot for the Tee Ball Fields under Construction. Tearing down the House is the easy part of this Project. Once the Public Works Director gets the Thumbs up the Cottage will be removed with Township Equipment the next day. That doesn’t make the entire project doable or affordable The Supervisors need to explain the entire project. Supervisors need to supply Cost, Plans, and Permits. Has an environmental study of the property been undertaken? Are State Permits required? How will the water runoff from this project affect Zucksville Rd, Bushkill Drive Flooding? There is a lot of red tape that needs to be circumvented before a single Tree gets cut down so let’s wait on the future of the Cottage until the rest of the project is explained. It’s been empty for 3 years another few months while the Art Society's “Save the Cottage” project gets on track won’t hurt.
Dino Ciliberti September 05, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Hey Rob, you seem to know your stuff about Forks. Wanna be a blogger?
Jim English September 06, 2012 at 08:40 PM
The problem is the BoS is getting caught up in the "emotion" of the property. This is a business decision and unfortunately, to invest money to first renovate, and then maintain, this property for the sole purpose of providing a home for a few local non-profits is bad business: I'm sorry but the Township should not be in the business of spending taxpayer dollars on these special interests that do not benefit the community at large. This money could be used for road repairs, stormwater swale improvements, and a myriad of other infrastructure needs within the Township. But I think some supervisor terms expire next year so...
Jim English September 06, 2012 at 08:50 PM
As for more runoff, the Township has already violated the PA Stormwater Act 167 and its own ordinances when it allowed runaway development without developer-financed improvement to the existing stormwater facilities as required in the Township code. For those who suffer with the damages of the Township's negligence, its all out there in the Township ordinances: all you have to do is read it. Further, Section 13 of PA Stormwater Act 167 states that the duty of persons (including municipalities) engaged in the development of land: "(1) to assure that the maximum rate of storm water runoff is no greater after development than prior to development activities; or (2) to manage the quantity, velocity and direction of resulting storm water runoff in a manner which otherwise adequately protects health and property from possible injury." The Bushkill Drive flooding Rob mentions is poster child of the Township's ignorance to state/local stormwater policies. And then when private property owners suffer damage from the increased stormwater runoff and complain they are dismissed under the guise of "It's your property, not ours", even though the Township was supposed to protect the private property owners from the increased stormwater runoff to begin with. What a freakin' joke!!!

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