Trail dispute stalls Rolling Ridge home plans in Murrysville

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Many members of Rolling Ridge homeowners' association in Murrysville said they had no problem with a request by some residents to change plans for a walking path that will pass through the woods behind the plan of houses located off School Road, south of Route 22. After voicing their concerns to council, though, it appears that rerouting the neighborhood trail could be a long and winding road.

A small contingent of residents from Rolling Ridge came to council last week to ask for a modification of the plan. According to Linda Galinsky of Rolling Ridge, site plans for the housing development show a walking trail but, as planned, the trail would cut between two homes in the nearby Fox Tail subdivision and they have requested to change the route. Since the developer has not yet built the trail, it seems like a simple change to make.

"The homeowners voted in favor of requesting that the trail does not impact any homeowners' properties," Ms. Galinsky said. When asked why the home-owners are requesting to make changes after the development was approved, Ms. Galinsky explained that the developer, Bayard Crossings of Wexford, has not yet built the trail.

"He should have put the trail in by now. We are having a problem getting the contractor to put the trail in."

Ryan Lynch, property manager for Rolling Ridge, elaborated. "There are 46 lots in the community and 25 homeowners voted on the issue. Twenty-one voted in favor of amending the trail. The developer has approached the community asking not to have to put the trail in."

According to Terry Corbett, general manager of Bayard Crossings, discussions about the trail have been ongoing for nearly three years. "We are trying to do what is best for the community. The trail is supposed to be a natural walking path, not paved or gravel. It is on the site plan for the development. There were questions about the cost of maintaining it over the years, as well as liability issues if someone takes their quad on it and gets hurt, for example. As a result I offered to just give the homeowners association money instead of building the trail," said Mr. Corbett. However, he said the payment would end up with the municipal parks department and not with the homeowners.

According to Murrysville's chief administrator Jim Morrison, Bayard Crossings has a hold placed on its building permit and is unable to build any additional homes in the plan until the trail issue is resolved. Some people have placed deposits on lots in the development, but until the trail issue is settled, the developer cannot proceed, he said.

If getting the developer to complete the trail has been one bump in the road, amending the route would be another. Each deed in the plan identifies the location of the trail on the property. Changing the trail might well require changes to all of the deeds.

"You have a legal problem here because it affects 100 percent of the homeowners," Mayor Robert Brooks weighed in. "I suggest that you get the developer to build the trail which will allow him to build out the lots and the people with money down can move forward."

Mr. Corbett said the situation will be resolved shortly as he intends to begin work on the trail in the next three weeks. Bayard Crossing is a subsidiary of Howard Hanna Realty Co.

Tim Means, freelance writer:

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