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Council to look at new sidewalk rules

May 21, 2001

Council to look at new sidewalk rules



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Chambersburg Borough Council members plan to take up the issue of sidewalks, and the possibility of requiring them on all borough streets, at a workshop next month.

After several debates over where sidewalks are needed in the borough, council members agreed at last week's meeting to individually come up with a plan and then discuss the suggestions at a public workshop in June.

Councilman William McLaughlin suggested hiring interns to first map where sidewalks are and where they are needed in the borough.

"Once we have that determination we will know without a doubt where sidewalks are and are not," he said at Wednesday's council meeting. "Then we come up with a 10-year plan to put borough sidewalks everywhere. We start where the greatest need is and work backwards."

The debate over sidewalks goes back years and has become a point of contention among some council members who question their need and cost.

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"Sidewalks are a common thread for drawing people together ... but I am opposed to picking and choosing where they go," McLaughlin said.

Councilman Tom Newcomer has pushed for sidewalks in the past and said he agreed with McLaughlin's solution. However, Newcomer raised the question of whether sidewalks should be mandated for all new subdivisions.

"One thing we didn't address is when we have subdivisions that don't have sidewalks in the vicinity," he said. "We have to look at existing sidewalks, and if there is nothing to tie into, it doesn't make sense," to require sidewalks.

"I agree, we don't put them in where there is no connection," said council President Bernard Washabaugh.

Other council members agreed requiring sidewalks on every street might be the only fair solution.

"I realize it would take a long period of time to put together, but I think it has to be done," Councilman John A. Redding Jr. said.

"I agree it needs to be done over a 10-year period," said Councilman Robert Wareham, who also suggested the borough use a bond and redo some of the borough's streets at the same time.

Councilman Carl Helman suggested each member talk to constituents and prioritize four or five significant projects in their ward.

The council members will tentatively discuss these suggestions and the possibility of retracting sidewalk waivers granted to proposed subdivisions at a regular public workshop June 20.

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