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Source: Springfield Sun
Date: March 9, 2001
Byline: Chris Lilienthal

Black Horse hearings approaching a finale

With testimony completed and nearly all public comments heard, the Black Horse zoning hearings are approaching a finale, but Springfield residents still have another month of suspense until the hearings continue and presumably conclude.

The Black Horse hearings have been ongoing since October when the Hampton Real Estate Group brought a proposal before the township zoners for the unified development of the current Black Horse tract and a neighboring property. Hampton is seeking relief from the zoning ordinance to allow the development of three retail structures on the property, which is split-zoned as residential and commercial.

More than 75 area residents packed the township building March 8 for the fourth installment of the hearings. Walter C. Evans, a land planner called by the township, continued his testimony, followed by James T. Macallister, Hampton's architect, who presented testimony on a slightly revised plan for the proposed Black Horse Village.

Residents also voiced concerns of congestion, traffic, noise and safety during a public comment period. Several also talked about preservation, noting the importance of the Black Horse's heritage to the township.

Hearings will continue April 16 at 7:30 p.m. Three young ladies will have an opportunity at that hearing to present their position on the subject. They were unable to do so Thursday, as zoners' Chairman Daniel Clifford explained, "because it was past their bedtime and they had to leave." All other public comment is closed.

The April hearing will also feature closing arguments from Hampton's attorney Neil Stein and Solicitor Joseph Bagley, who is representing the township in opposition to the application.

In the meantime, the zoning board is making arrangements to tour the existing Black Horse Tavern before making a final decision.