Pa. commission puts off decision on development

October 11, 2005|by DON AINES


Consideration of a new preliminary subdivision plan for Glen Afton Farms was tabled Monday night by the Washington Township Planning and Zoning Commission.

The 56-lot subdivision submitted by Elgin Properties Inc. is considerably different than the 169-lot planned residential development on 140 acres that previously was proposed. That plan was opposed by a citizens group which contended that the township zoning hearing board, not the township's board of supervisors, should have granted variances for the project.

The supervisors' actions were upheld by the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, but the citizens group appealed the decision and won in Commonwealth Court two years ago.


"It's a 2-acre development, which is what is allowed in this zone," said R. Lee Royer, who represented Elgin Properties at the meeting. Although the plan calls for the homes to be served by municipal water and sewer, residential lot sizes have to be a minimum of 2 acres in agricultural zones, according to the township zoning ordinance.

At the beginning of the meeting, however, a number of residents still expressed their concerns about the development along Harbaugh Church Road.

John Blair, president of the Harbaugh Cemetery Association, asked the commission to table action on the plan "so that our engineering and legal personnel will have an opportunity to fully, fairly and thoroughly review these development plans."

"Once again, the developer has made no provision for the future expansion of Harbaugh Cemetery, the only active community cemetery in Washington Township," Blair said. The plan landlocks the cemetery, he said.

Blair also said the proposed development is in a flood plain area and the project could worsen flooding problems in the cemetery. He also said the boundary of one lot is just a foot away from the garage door of a maintenance building at the cemetery.

The cemetery has for years had an easement across the Elgin property linking the cemetery driveway with Harbaugh Church Road.

Others at the meeting said they were concerned about traffic and the adequacy of water supplies with the increasing residential development in the township.

The commission, which makes recommendations to the board of supervisors as to whether development plans and zoning requests be approved, tabled consideration of the plan. Township Zoning Officer Jerry Zeigler said the Washington Township Municipal Authority is requesting information about the development's impact on utilities.

The commission also found the plan did not address a zoning ordinance requirement for rights of way extending to adjoining properties to the north and west.

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