Leaders of a community group opposed to development of a 682-acre residential, commercial and golfing village near their neighborhood asked county officials and the developer this week to "negotiate a reasonable solution" with them within six months.
According to the proposal, the county would not act on the Waverly Woods II project, and the developer would withdraw his petition to rezone the property untileveryone can either reach an agreement or decide there is no satisfactory solution.
In return, Citizens Allied for Rational Expansion (CARE), a community group formed in opposition to the development would "cease to partake in any activities that will impact adversely on the Waverly Woods II property."
Response from the county and the developer has been lukewarm.
Developer Donald R. Reuwer Jr. said he will poll members of his Waverly Woods partnership and make a formal response to the community group "in a couple of days."
Reuwer said that while heis "interested in meeting with the group to clarify our position," negotiation could be difficult.
"I don't think they share our goalsand objectives," he said.
Beverly Wilhide, administrative assistant to County Executive Charles I. Ecker, said that the community group's demand that the county take no action concerning the Waverly Woods II property is an impossibility.
"The county government has to react to every (zoning) petition and cannot appear to be in collusion"with anyone supporting or opposing it, Wilhide said.
The county could provide technical advice, Wilhide said, but could not guarantee that a settlement negotiated by a developer and a citizens' group would be acceptable to the County Council sitting as the Zoning Board.
"We encourage every developer-builder to join with residents in coming up with a mutually agreeable plan," Ecker said. "While we have nopower or authority to agree to anything -- that rests with the County Council (sitting as the Zoning Board), I think if the developer andthe residents came in hand-in-hand, the council would be more apt toapprove it."
David Stough, chairman of CARE, presented the six-point proposal to Reuwer and Wilhide on Monday.
Stough said he believes the Waverly Woods property is going to be developed eventually, and would like residents to help decide how it will be done.
Earlier, his organization simply opposed the project, saying that the only acceptable development of the Waverly Woods property would be one house per 3 acres, as the property is now zoned.
Stough refused to say if his organization had softened that stance or how much if any of Reuwer's plans residents would be willing to accept. Those are the kinds of issues that should be aired at the negotiating table, he said.Negotiations needed to take place privately so people "could speak openly," Stough said.
The integrity of the negotiations would be assured by an "outside facilitator" who would have no previous connection with Reuwer, the county or the community group and who would be present at all talks, he said. Stough set a Tuesday deadline for Reuwerand the county to agree to his proposal.
In September, Stough organized and led a protest march in front of the county office buildingon the day Reuwer was to bring his Waverly Woods ideas before the planning board. The planning board postponed hearing the proposal untilat least Nov. 1.