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Judges hear Glen Afton arguments

March 08, 2002|BY RICHARD F. BELISLE

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A three-judge panel heard arguments in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Thursday in a suit filed against the Washington Township (Pa.) Supervisors and Glen Afton Farms Inc., over a proposed 169-unit housing development on Harbaugh Church Road.

The judges on the panel - John Walker, Douglas Herman and Carol Van Horn - did not say when they would reach a decision.

The suit was filed Dec. 28, 2001, by the Harbaugh Cemetery Association and five individuals. The township supervisors approved the planned residential development on 140 acres Dec. 3.

Called Glen Afton Estates, the controversial single- and multi-family development would surround the historic Harbaugh Church building owned by the Waynesboro Historical Society. The society is not a party in the suit.

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A group of residents have been fighting the development. On Monday about 60 members of the group appeared before the supervisors met, carrying signs in what they called a silent protest.

The group plans to meet Saturday at 9 a.m. at the church to update members on Thursday's court hearing.

Attorney John M. Lisko represented the supervisors, attorney Stephen E. Patterson represented the developer and attorney Hubert X. Gilroy of Carlisle, Pa., the plaintiffs.

Gilroy based his argument on what he said were legal problems with the supervisors' decision.

The township's zoning ordinance requires that planned residential developments be built on contiguous land. Gilroy said 10 lots in the proposed development lie across Harbaugh Church Road.

He said the ordinance requires that the development have access to an arterial road. The closest is Pa. 16 East which can be reached over Harbaugh Church and Midvale roads, he told the judges. The ordinance also states that the access road be at least 24-feet wide in its paved sections.

Harbaugh Church Road is less than that in places, he said.

Finally, Gilroy argued, the supervisors departed from the ordinance, which requires building lots on land zoned agricultural to be no less than two acres. That would limit the number of homes in the development to 70.

Planned residential developments are allowed on agricultural land in the township's zoning ordinance.

Gilroy also argued that the supervisors amended their Dec. 3 decision after the plaintiffs' suit was filed.

Lisko argued that the amendments were only corrections to the supervisors' original order approving the development. They did not include any new facts, he said.

Patterson told the judges that the deed to the development site shows it to be a single tract. He said planned residential developments are not considered sprawl, but the correct use of land. The project will have various sized lots and 43 acres of open space for active and passive recreational use by residents, he said.

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