Township mulls fee to be used for recreation

January 14, 2004|by RICHARD BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - If the Washington Township Supervisors approve a planning commission proposal, the township will add a $300 one-time recreation fee to all new homes built in developments, a township official said Tuesday.

Developers would have a choice of paying $300 per home or setting aside .06 acres for recreation and open space for each dwelling unit built in their developments, said Jerry Zeigler, township zoning enforcement officer.

With an average of 100 new homes per year being built in the township in recent years, the fees could add up to about $30,000 annually for the township. The money would be dedicated solely to recreation, Zeigler said.


That number could increase drastically if the supervisors approve rezoning requests for nine parcels of farmland totaling more than 1,000 acres, mostly for residential development.

Developers have indicated they plan to build nearly 1,300 new single- and multifamily homes if the supervisors agree to the rezoning requests.

The supervisors already have approved three of the nine requests, two of which are for commercial development, including land for a shopping center that would be anchored by a Wal-Mart Supercenter.

The board will consider the remaining six requests at a meeting Monday at 7 p.m. at the Blue Ridge Summit (Pa.) Fire and Rescue Squad.

If the supervisors vote for the recreation fees and land set-aside program, the township's subdivision ordinance would have to be amended to reflect the change, Zeigler said.

"There's only so much land available for recreation," he said.

An inventory of open space and recreational facilities in Washington Township, as outlined in the draft of a comprehensive recreation, park and open space plan, shows that there is an abundance of open space land within the township's boundaries.

The largest chunk, more than 2,000 acres of Michaux State Forest land, lies within the township. The Appalachian Trail runs through it.

Included in township-owned facilities are the 174-acre Pine Hill Park off Mentzer Gap Road and the long popular, 22-acre Red Run Park on Pa. 16 in Rouzerville, Pa.

In addition, there is the 72-acre Happel's Meadow Wetlands on Pa. 16 in Blue Ridge Summit.

According to the comprehensive plan, Washington Township "is largely rural in character with vast areas of visual open space allocated for active productive farming practices."

The goal, according to the plan, is to maintain as much quality agricultural land as possible while planning to support the inevitable growth the township is facing.

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