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Pa. high court refuses to hear Glen Afton case

May 25, 2004|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court not to hear an appeal by the developer of the proposed 169-unit Glen Afton Estates ends the legal process in the case, a lawyer said Monday.

The decision, which came out Friday, effectively ends the developer's plans to build a residential development on 140 acres surrounding the historic Harbaugh Church on Harbaugh Church Road in Washington Township, said attorney Stephen E. Patterson of Waynesboro.

Patterson represents Mary Susan Elgin of Hagerstown, who owns the land with her three daughters. Elgin said Monday she will have to confer with her daughters to see what the family will do now.

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The property is zoned residential. Under that zoning, Elgin is allowed to build homes with a minimum lot size of two acres. She could build up to 60 homes on the land, township officials have said.

"We'll have to get together to decide what we want to do," she said.

Elgin's plan to build a planned residential development, which requires more than 40 acres of open space, walking trails and other amenities, was opposed by a group of residents who raised money to hire attorney Hubert Gilbert of Carlisle, Pa., to fight their case in court.

The citizens group opposed the development because of its encroachment on the historic church and its cemetery.

Gilbert said Monday Elgin would have to present a new set of plans to the township. If she still chose to move forward with a planned residential development, she would have to obtain variances from the township's zoning hearing board.

The variances, which dealt with road issues, were at the heart of the legal battle.

A Franklin County court ruled in favor of the township and developer when it said the Township Supervisors were right in granting the variances. The opponents contended that the township's zoning hearing board had to grant the variances.

The citizens appealed the lower court decision to the state's Commonwealth Court, which ruled in their favor.

The developer appealed that ruling to the state Supreme Court which declined to hear it, in effect, leaving the Commonwealth Court's decision to stand, lawyers said.

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