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Five Rivers development still in the works

Making its way back to the Bethlehem Planning Board, a small eight-lot subdivision near Five Rivers State Preserve has yet to get approval because of concerns about having landlocked property donated to the town.

The Planning Board last heard plans to build mini-development next to a state preservation landmark at its April 15 meeting.

Carol Richards is proposing to divide her property off of Fisher Boulevard into seven lots next to the Five Rivers State Preserve. Developers say they want to keep the lots fairly small, so as to keep the density of homes on the property low.

A portion of the property is to be donated to the Open Space Institute, according to Terresa Bakner, who represented Richards at the meeting.

"It's taken us a while to get here and there are no subdivisions that we are aware of on the history of this property," Bakner told the board in April. "The land could have been divided into dozens of lots if they wanted to develop it. While the wetlands on the site are in several locations, it in no way inhibits the development."

The plans call for transferring 24.63 acres from Richards' property to the Open Space Institute and eventually to the Delmar Wildlife Conservation, which is owned by the state.

Planning Board Chairman Parker Mathusa said there was some confusion over the donated land and that he was looking for adequate access to the property.

"I, maybe, erroneously believed we had another access because it's important to get to that park," Mathusa said, calling the property "landlocked."

Mathusa asked for a 20-foot easement on both sides of a potential access point near one of the proposed lots.

"I want 20 feet on both sides, that's 40 feet," Mathusa told Bakner. "I don't mean to be heavy on this, but I want to be sure."

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