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Planners OK smaller version of Glen Afton

November 15, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The historic Harbaugh Church Cemetery moved a step closer to becoming ringed by a 56-lot housing subdivision when the Washington Township Planning Commission gave conditional approval Monday night to Glen Afton Farms, a name that has been in the news in recent years.

The plan advances to the Washington Township Supervisors for its consideration Monday night.

Contingencies attached to the planners' approval include a look at the plan by the township's engineering consultant, a review by the Washington Township Municipal Authority to ensure that a hydrant serving the subdivision has adequate water supply and an agreement between Susan Elgin of Hagerstown, the property's owner, and members of the Harbaugh Church Cemetery Association over an unwritten easement across Elgin's property. The easement connects the cemetery with Harbaugh Church Road.

Several years ago, a group of residents led by John Blair, association president, fought a plan by Elgin to build 169 homes on her property. The residents contended that the township zoning hearing board, not the supervisors, should have granted variances for the project. The dispute ended up in court with a verdict in favor of the opponents.

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Elgin's latest plan, which meets basic township zoning regulations, calls for 56 single-family homes on 2-acre lots.

Blair spoke against the new plan Monday and asked that the planners table a decision until the association's engineer can review the latest plan.

Elgin, who was present at Monday's meeting, said her family gave the cemetery land for the facility in the late 1800s.

"It's incredibly ironic that they're trying to stop us," she said.

Harbaugh Church, owned by the Waynesboro Historical Society, and the cemetery are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Blair said a garage in the cemetery that is used to store lawn equipment butts up against Elgin's property line. The garage door is too close to the Elgin property line for easy access to the building, Blair said.

R. Lee Royer, Elgin's engineer, suggested that the association move the door to the rear of the building.

"It's a simple solution," he said.

Blair also said the development would send stormwater onto the cemetery property. The commission showed a photograph, taken by Blair in 2004, which showed parts of the cemetery under water from recent rains.

Royer countered, saying the runoff comes from nearby farm fields, that the development's grassy areas would hold back stormwater and its road network would channel it into an approved catch basin.

The development would improve runoff conditions for the cemetery, Royer said.

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