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Court ruling finds in favor of Glen Afton opponents

July 18, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has denied a request by the developer of the proposed Glen Afton Acres housing project, a ruling that effectively kills the project, John Lisko, attorney for Washington Township, said Thursday.

Attorney Stephen E. Patterson, who represents Mary Elgin of Hagerstown, the developer, asked the court in June to reconsider its earlier decision that overturned a July 2002 ruling by the Franklin County Common Pleas Court.

On July 11, according to a two-sentence opinion sent to the Washington Township Supervisors Tuesday and signed by Commonwealth Court President Judge James Gardner Colins, the court denied Patterson's application for reconsideration.

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The decision was read during a Thursday meeting of the supervisors. They did not comment.

The lower court denied an appeal filed by a citizens group opposing the 169-unit development. The citizens group claimed the Township Supervisors erred in granting two variances on road issues that the group claimed went against the township's zoning regulations.

The citizens group appealed the lower court's ruling to the Commonwealth Court in March 2002. In May, the high court ruled that the supervisors lacked the authority to grant the variances.

Patterson responded by asking the Commonwealth Court judges to reconsider their May ruling.

Christopher Firme, a member of the citizens group, said Thursday that if Elgin still wants to build her development, "she'll have to start all over again."

Firme said the citizens group raised more than $13,000 for legal fees to fight the project.

Gerald Zeigler, zoning enforcement officer for the township, said Elgin has several options.

Her land is zoned for 2-acre development so she still could build 50 to 60 single-family homes on it, he said.

She would have to go before the township with a new set of plans, he said.

The development was proposed for 140 acres that Elgin owns off Harbaugh Church Road.

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