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Chester County Press

Lamborn Hunt projects finally nearing completion

09/08/2015 02:09PM ● By Richard Gaw

By Richard L. Gaw, Staff Writer

London Grove Township engineer Ron Ragan told the township's board of supervisors at their Sept. 2 meeting that nearly all of the remaining -- and long-delayed -- punch-list projects in the Lamborn Hunt development have been completed, or are about to be.

In a 25-minute report, Ragan said that the infiltration berms in the development are now working after perforated pipes, a stone trench and proper valves were installed; that all water basins have been mowed; that grading issues at trouble spots have been addressed; that sidewalks previously identified as incomplete have been improved; and that open drainage grates on streets will be covered this week.

In addition, the slope and elevation improvements to sidewalks have been completed, and several driveway berms will be either repaired or replaced to better control water flow.

Ragan said that landscaping in the meadow areas have been re-seeded; that additional mulching and the spreading of topsoil has been completed; that various trees and briar areas have been removed; and that new plantings and removal of trees and excess vegetation will be done after Sept. 15.

"We're not done, but we've made some progress, and we should know more about what the Conservation District thinks about how well [Keystone] performed on the corrective action plan [next week]," Ragan said.

Board chairman Richard Scott-Harper asked Ragan to have Keystone provide a progress report to the township that lists which additional projects are expected to be completed by the board's next meeting in October.

"I'm pleased that there's been some progress, but I don't want them [Keystone] to believe that the pressure's off," Scott-Harper said. "We want them to know that we're still watching."

"We're down to a pretty short list," Ragan said, and assured Scott-Harper that once it rains again, inspectors will have a better idea of how effective the berms, swails and drainage in development ponds are responding.

Ragan told the supervisors that the trail that is downstream of where the water leaves Lamborn and flows onto the Stonecroft development next door on Guernsey Road continues to be a problem. He said that Keystone has volunteered to insert additional piping and ramps along the trail to lessen potential water overflow to the neighboring development.

Ragan said he got a commitment from Keystone on Sept. 4 to have a two-year escrow period, as well as a commitment from the builder that it would come to Lamborn this October and till the bottom of basins that do not have vegetation, and re-seed them with meadow grass mix.

An inspection of these items with the Chester County Conservation District is scheduled Sept. 15.

Ragan's report served as the follow-up to the board's Aug. 5 meeting, when both supervisors and Lamborn Hunt residents excoriated Keystone Builders for not completing what remained on a long list of projects in the development.

On April 22, the township issued notice to Keystone, claiming that the builder had defaulted on their promise to finish the work, consistent with the Lamborn Hunt-Plan B Subdivision and Land Development Improvement Agreement.

Speaking on behalf of Keystone Builders at the Aug. 5 meeting, Keystone's attorney Gregg Adelman encouraged the supervisors to have patience with Keystone to get the work done, and not -- as some supervisors threatened -- pull the security bond it established with Keystone and hire contractors on its own in order to complete the projects.

In a letter to the township, Adelman wrote that said that 39 items on the to-do punch list at Lamborn Hunt have have either been completed or are underway

"Keystone has been on site and they have been doing on a majority of these items, many of which have been resolved," he said. "Work is being completed as diligently as possible, and we're here to continue to finish off these items and move to the dedication process."

At the Aug. 5 meeting, Ragan told the supervisors that he has visited Lamborn Hunt several times, and said that the projects are "in the neighborhood of being 95 percent complete," although he said improvements to five infiltration berms still have not been completed.

After continued deliberation, largely about the complexities of pulling the bond on the project and completing the work themselves, the board voted to hold off on taking action against Keystone, and gave the builder 30 more days to complete the work.

Ragan said that a possible cause of these delays could be traced through Keystone to the unreliability of the subcontractors the company hires to complete the projects normally associated with the construction of a development.

"Unfortunately, we're in a situation where Keystone, as with many developers, perform very well with site work when they have their main contractor onsite to do the work," Ragan aid. "Now they're trying to find subcontractors here and there to come in and do these little projects for them, and they keep running into guys who have scheduling conflicts, or have a machine break down. They have a lot of excuses about getting subcontractors, and we've been hearing that for the last two years. We can beat them over the head with it, but if they don't have anyone out there to do the work, it doesn't get done."

Although Keystone has stepped up its efforts to complete these projects, the shelf life of the residents' frustration – as expressed to township officials – is now well into its second year. Several residents continued to impress upon the board at the Sept. 2 meeting to hold Keystone to their commitment to complete all remaining projects.

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail [email protected] .