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Lower Makefield to receive $766K as part of settlement with engineering firm


Settlement of a longstanding lawsuit filed by Lower Makefield Township against the engineering firm Boucher & James includes a $766,000 payment to the township, among several other provisions.

The township board of supervisors voted 4-0 at its Nov. 2 meeting to approve the settlement, with board Chairman James McCartney and fellow Supervisors Suzanne Blundi, Daniel Grenier and Fredric Weiss all voting yes. Supervisor John Lewis was unable to attend the meeting.

Lower Makefield had filed a complaint against Boucher & James in Bucks County Court in April 2019, alleging professional negligence and breach of contract by the firm related to its work on a “reprofiling” of a part of Edgewood Road near Sandy Run Road. The project forced the closure of Sandy Run at its intersection with Edgewood for several years, the township claimed.

Among other clauses, the settlement prohibits any further legal claims by the township against B&J related to the re-profiling. There is also a “no admission of liability” clause.

“This agreement is a compromise and settlement of vigorously disputed claims by and between the parties,” the settlement states. “This agreement is being made solely for the purpose of avoiding the expense and inconvenience of litigation, and nothing in this agreement shall be deemed or construed to constitute an admission by, against, or on the part of any party hereto.”

A “non-publicity” clause states that other than legal disclosure requirements and approving the settlement at a public meeting, the township “will not take any affirmative steps to publicize the terms of this settlement agreement and general release, and further, shall not in any way imply that B&J has admitted any of the allegations asserted by the township in the litigation.”

In other actions from the Nov. 2 meeting, the supervisors voted 3-1 to approve an agreement – pending review by the solicitor – with Avison Young to manage development of a master plan for the township-owned Patterson Farm on Mirror Lake Road near Interstate 295.

The lone no vote came from Grenier, who said he felt the Avison Young proposal was far too vague and consisted largely of marketing materials. Approval of the agreement was recommended by a township Ad Hoc Property Committee chaired by resident Dennis Steadman which has spent a long time studying and making recommendations on the future of the Patterson Farm. The cost of the Avison Young agreement is not to exceed $19,098.

Its approval did not come without some heated debate between Supervisors Blundi and Weiss and Langhorne resident Donna Doan, who lived on the farm as a child before it was acquired by the township, and has been a longtime member of a Patterson Farm preservation group not affiliated with the township.

“I feel like farming does not get appreciated enough by this board,” said Doan, who added that township officials have often ignored the preservation group’s offers to help improve the farm.

“Your group has tried to sabotage,” the supervisors’ initiatives for the farm, Weiss countered. “Please let us do our work.”

In answering some of Doan’s concerns, Grenier emphasized that Patterson will “always be a farm. Anything we do will not in any way deter or hinder the future of the farm as a farm.”

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