Southeastern PA

Milford: 18-year-old legal battle finally resolved

MILFORD TWP., Pa. - The Milford Township Board of Supervisors has finally settled the litigation of a property dispute that dates back to August of 1996.

"It's something that I never thought I would see resolved," said Chairman Robert Mansfield.

Over a decade and a half ago, Milford resident, Lars Erik Forde, was informed that he had committed a zoning violation by converting the garage on his Upper Ridge St. property to include three extra apartments.

Forde's permit specified that only one additional residential accessory could be added to the original residence.

Following a Bucks County Court ruling in favor of the Township, Forde attempted several appeals, none of which succeeded. What ensued were years of painful litigation according to officials.

"The apartments have long been sorted out," said Solicitor Terry Clemons. "We wanted to make sure this wouldn't come back."

What was left to be settled was the cost of fines issued against Forde. The initial fees levied against him required him to pay a $100 a day fine until the dispute was resolved.

Instead the two parties agreed to have Forde pay $20,000 as restitution.
When asked to estimate how much Forde would've had to pay under the initial fines, Chairman Mansfield put it simply: "a lot."

As per the litigation agreement the two parcels will be consolidated and the 9.8 acre in the disputed area will be protected as a natural conservation area.

"We finally brought this to a head," said Clemons.

"It is with great joy that I make the motion to approve this motion," said Mansfield, who has been a member of the Milford Board of Supervisors for all 18 years of the long drawn out legal dispute.

Supervisor Thomas Courduff added that several of his grandchildren were born throughout the course of litigation.

The motion was eagerly passed by a 2-0 vote. Board Vice-Chairman, Charles Strunk, was not in attendance.

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