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Chambersburg council to take second look at sidewalks

October 05, 2000

Chambersburg council to take second look at sidewalks



By DON AINES / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Chambersburg Borough Council will take a second look at a decision last month to require sidewalks along sections of Fifth and Norland avenues after complaints raised by the property owners who would have to pay for the improvements.

At next Wednesday's meeting the council will vote on whether to rescind its action requiring a sidewalk on the west side of Fifth Avenue from Grant Street to Norland Avenue.

It will also vote on rescinding its notification to property owners to build sidewalks along the south side of Norland from Fifth Avenue to the railroad highline.

Notification to owners that they must build sidewalks on both sides of Norland from Fifth Avenue east toward Walker Road will stand for the time being, Borough Manager Eric Oyer said Wednesday.

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Rescinding the notifications to property owners on Fifth and Norland avenues does not mean the sidewalk issue is dead. Oyer said the staff will give the matter further study before reporting back to council.

TB Woods President Mike Hunt said his company was "fundamentally opposed to any change that would increase the number of pedestrians coming down Fifth Avenue." He said TB Woods, on the east side of the road, has about 70 trucks arriving and leaving the plant each day, many of them tractor-trailers.

"To encourage pedestrians in that area, I think, creates a safety problem," Hunt said.

"These sidewalks will have to be built in a stormwater management swail," said David Cleaver, an attorney representing two businesses along Fifth Avenue.

Cleaver told the council that a survey on the number of pedestrians going to the Keystone Health Center at 820 Fifth Ave. on two different days showed only 13 of 165 people walked to the clinic.

"I don't see how we can sell any place in the borough as being unsafe to walk, jog or even stand," said Councilman Thomas L. Newcomer. He said the east side of Fifth Avenue may be a better location for the sidewalk, but it should still be built.

Hunt said building a sidewalk along the TB Woods property would cost the company about $100,000.

Other council members agreed the west side was probably not the best site for a sidewalk, but others were willing to waive the sidewalk requirement altogether. Several said they had received numerous letters and phone calls against the council vote on the sidewalk notifications in August.

"Everybody I talked to said this was a waste of money," Mayor Robert Morris said. "I don't think we should take the money out of the borough's budget, or anybody else's pocket," he said.

The area of Fifth and Norland avenues in the borough's north end is a mixture of manufacturing, professional offices and other businesses. Plans for the area also include some residential development.

Councilwoman Sharon Bigler said that mixture also includes the unemployment office, a temp service, dental and health clinics catering to low and moderate income residents and other businesses that could attract pedestrians.

"We have a real safety issue here...What's it going to take?" Bigler said.

She reminded council members that it took an accident that killed retired Judge Chauncey Depuy several years ago before the borough acted to put four-way stop signs at a dangerous intersection.

Council President Bernard Washabaugh said he was against forcing the property owners to pay for the sidewalks. Councilman Carl Helman suggested a "cost-sharing arrangement" between the borough and landowners.

The council also discussed a comprehensive sidewalk policy for sidewalks and curbs throughout the borough.

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