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Developer Scraps Plan for Gundelfinger Property

A Mars Township developer said coal deposits prevented him from building garden-style apartments on the site of an abandoned Moon Township home.

Thomas Janidas said the bureaucratic hurdles were just too high to jump. 

Janidas, of the Mars Township-based R&D Holdings Inc., intended to develop a seven-acre property along Beaver Grade Road, . 

But Janidas said Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection regulations stonewalled the plan. 

DEP officials said R&D Holdings was not able to remove deposits of coal beneath the property without obtaining a mining permit. 

"It's foolish," Janidas said. "We're not in the mining business. We called it nuisance coal and to us it just didn't make sense." 

And without mining that coal, Janidas said, he is unable to build on the property. 

"There is 27 feet of overbearing (on the land) and you need more than that to build over coal," he said. 

R&D Holdings planned to break ground on the eight-building development in 2013, but its offer was contingent on DEP approval. 

The plan entailed knocking down the former Gundelfinger home, which was abandoned in 2005. The decaying home, built in 1924 by Philip and Elizabeth Gundelfinger, is still on the market.

"It would have made good economic sense for the township," Janidas said of the development plan. "It would have made an impact on that neighborhood and it's a nice area to develop." 

After the death of Elizabeth Gundelfinger in 2005, the property and home were purchased by the Iowa-based spiritual group Global Country of World Peace for $595,000, according to property records. 

The group planned to perform an extensive renovation of the home to convert it into a Maharishi meditation palace for its followers, but quickly placed the property back on the market. 

"I think it's been tried before with other developers," Janidas said of the property. "We're going to continue lookin gfor land to develop, that's what we do." 

Robert September 07, 2012 at 01:07 PM
This is FANTASTIC NEWS! Maybe there is still hope to save the Gundelfinger Mansion!

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