Township sued over Glen Afton

January 08, 2002

Township sued over Glen Afton


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Opponents of a 138-acre housing development off Harbaugh Church Road have filed a lawsuit against the Washington Township Board of Supervisors, appealing its approval of the project and seeking to have it halted.

The lawsuit was filed in Franklin County Court Dec. 28, 2001, more than a month after the supervisors unanimously approved the Glen Afton Estates development.

Carlisle, Pa., attorney Hubert X. Gilroy filed the suit on behalf of the Harbaugh Cemetery Association, the Waynesboro Historical Society and five area residents.

The lawsuit seeks the reversal of the supervisors' decision on the housing project, which includes 133 single family homes and 33 duplexes.


Much of the land, which surrounds Harbaugh Church and the adjoining cemetery, is zoned agricultural.

Township zoning codes allow residential development on land zoned for agricultural use.

"The decision of the township approving the proposed residential development application of Glen Afton was contrary to the law, in violation of various provisions of the ordinance, was arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and unsupported by substantial evidence," the lawsuit contends.

The lawsuit alleges that the development is "in conflict with the Washington Township Comprehensive Plan objective of preserving prime agricultural and forest lands."

It also says the supervisors ignored public opposition to the project and the recommendation of the Washington Township Planning Commission to deny the subdivision.

In addition, the lawsuit accuses the supervisors of abusing their discretion by ignoring the impact of the development on neighboring historical properties.

Washington Township Manager Mike Christopher said Monday he could not comment on matters involving litigation.

In its decision last fall, the commission argued that if the development proceeds, farmland would be lost and traffic problems would increase along Harbaugh Church Road.

But the Board of Supervisors said Glen Afton met or exceeded all of the township's development standards. It made sense to build there because of the availability of utilities and only 10 percent would be on prime farmland, the supervisors said.

This is the second time the Glen Afton development has been up for debate.

In 1999, the supervisors turned down Hagerstown developer Mary Susan Elgin's request to rezone the land from agricultural to residential for 200 homes.

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