Township likely to pay for impact fee studies

October 05, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A Harrisburg, Pa., engineering firm said it would charge Washington Township $245,000 to do the studies needed before a proposed impact fee ordinance on new residential and commercial development can be adopted.

The Township Supervisors Monday night voted to hire HRG Inc. pending a review of the company's proposal by John Lisko, the township's solicitor.

The impact fee zone will cover a 7-square-mile area.

Late last year, the supervisors rezoned more than 1,000 acres of farmland to pave the way for a major new shopping center to be anchored by Wal-Mart and Lowe's plus an estimated 2,000 new dwelling units on nine big parcels.


Key to the developments is a 5-mile stretch of access road that eventually will run through and connect the nine properties as well as serve as a northern bypass around the Borough of Waynesboro.

The first and biggest stretch would connect Pa. 997 to Pa. 16 east of Waynesboro at the entrance to the new shopping center in the 11000 block of Buchanan Trail East (Pa. 16).

The first phase, running about a mile, will be paid for by Echo Development of Pittsburgh, which is building the shopping center, Township Manager Michael Christopher said.

The township plans to finance the rest of the connector road through impact fees collected from developers.

The cost of the study and its analysis by HRG will be defrayed somewhat by volunteers, who will help count traffic at key intersections and roadways, officials said last month.

In a related item, the supervisors voted to pay a local firm $1,200 to appraise the 78-acre Shank farm owned by Barry G. and Annie R. Pifer of Germantown, Md.

In May 2003 the supervisors threatened to take the entire farm by eminent domain and convert it into a township office campus.

At that time the supervisors announced plans to build a bypass around Waynesboro months before news came out that more than 1,000 acres through which it would cross would be rezoned for residential and commercial development.

Also at that time the Pifers strenuously objected to the taking of all of their property, which is leased to George Mason, a neighboring farmer, Barry Pifer said Monday.

The supervisors dropped the bypass plan in the face of fierce citizen opposition.

The Pifers have since changed their minds, saying they are ready to negotiate with township officials about buying some of their land for a right of way for the new connector road.

The township needs some of the Pifers' land for the connector road.

The road would wind south away from his barn and follow the dirt lane leading to his farm from Country Club Road, Barry Pifer said.

"We see it as inevitable," he said. "Either we negotiate with them or they'll take it anyway. It's in both our interests to negotiate honestly."

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