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Durham Supervisors express concern over work on Landmark property


The new Durham Springs hasn’t even opened for business but it has already caused some strident vibes with Durham Township officials and neighboring property owners.

Durham Township Supervisor Chairman Bartley E. Millett made it absolutely clear at the December supervisors meeting: Any work on the Durham Springs property on Lehnenberg Road has been done without township approval.

“Permits will be required. No applications have been received,” he said. “Durham Springs has not asked permission. They have not applied for any permits. They’ll need to go before the zoning hearing board, It’s a lengthy process. The public will be well advised.”

He was responding to a question by David Juall, chairman of the township’s environmental advisory council, who said he was concerned about extended development plans for the property reported in a Philadelphia newspaper.

Danielle Cox, township administrator, also acknowledged she had received numerous calls from neighboring residents who had noticed ongoing activity at Durham Springs.

The newspaper article claimed the new owners, Landmark Developers, have already spent $100,000 on repairs to the main building and landscaping. It also listed extensive plans for future expansion and the building of 36 guest rooms including 31 log micro cabins, a specific concern of residents.

Landmark paid $2.4 million for the main building and its 17-acre parcel, part of the previous owners’ larger tract.

Frank Cretella, Landmark founder and owner with his wife, Jeanne, did meet with Edward Child, township zoning officer in the fall but Child characterized the session as “informational only.”

Landmark, a highly successful family business based in Plainfield, N.J., holds a portfolio of 20 hospitality venues, including Logan Inn, Mansion Inn, Hotel du Village and The Landing, all in New Hope, and several in Montgomery County, including the Elkins Estate and Chelten House. The developer previously announced plans to host weddings and other social events as well as corporate meetings at Durham Springs.

The previous owners of Durham Springs, Dan Fehlig and Ian Humphreys, bought the old Cascade Lodge in 2017 and had done extensive construction work on the original farmhouse and barn and added land, bumping the farm up to 33 landscaped acres perfect for outdoor weddings and other events.

The pair opened a restaurant, event center and catering service. They gave new life to the 70-year-old Cascade restaurant, even though construction problems delayed its opening until the fall of 2018. In less than a year, the pandemic struck, eventually stifling business and forcing bankruptcy for the partners.

In other business, the supervisors adopted a $745,265 budget for next year with expected revenue matching expenses. The balanced budget promises no increase in taxes for Durham residents in 2023.

The supervisors also adopted a resolution setting the distribution of funds provided to the township by the American Rescue Plan Act and also approved the advertising of meeting dates for 2023.

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