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Christopher says taxpayers off the hook on relief route

March 30, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The manager of Washington Township, Pa., has produced documents that support his previous statements that taxpayers will not be funding the construction of a $14.3 million relief route north of Waynesboro.

Estimates are that Washington Township Boulevard will cost $200 per linear foot as it is built in phases lasting until 2014. Those phases are Pa. 16 to Old Forge Road (completed); Old Forge Road to Country Club Road; Country Club Road to Gehr Road; Gehr Road to Pa. 997; and Pa. 997 to Pa. 316.

A study by Traffic Planning and Design Inc. of Pottstown, Pa., estimated that impact fees imposed on new development along the relief route will generate $12.6 million toward costs associated with the road's creation.

An additional $220,000 has been pledged by the county toward construction of a bridge over the Antietam Creek.

The impact fees are collected when building permits are obtained for new construction, so the township will have to rely on a $2.5 million loan if it wants to build the road before enough houses are constructed to provide funding.

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Washington Township has secured all but one right of way agreement needed to construct the section of the relief route between Old Forge Road and Country Club Road.

In a comprehensive report created by Mike Christopher, township manager, he asks the township supervisors to consider developing a reserve fund of nearly $300,000 before making significant expenditures.

Christopher's report, with revisions from the supervisors, will be made public at a meeting Monday.

The supervisors on Wednesday discussed a 7-mile stone walkway along the boulevard.

"This new walkway will provide a pedestrian interconnector from the large box stores at Rouzerville Commons, north of town, all the way back to Route 16, west of town," Christopher wrote in a draft of his report.

The supervisors' goal is to connect that walkway to ones in individual developments along Washington Township Boulevard.

On Tuesday, representatives of WAM Enterprises Inc., which is developing the 78-acre Pifer farm on the relief route, mentioned including walkways in their 137-lot development.

WAM Enterprises Inc. and a mix of township supervisors, township staffers, planning commission members and residents visited the site last week to discuss ways to incorporate Conservation by Design standards into the development.

The current plan is for WAM Enterprises Inc. to dedicate about 20 percent of the development to open space, preserving a knoll and mapped flood plains.

The developer's concessions to Conservation by Design, flood plains and neighbors' requests for a buffer has scaled the number of lots back from the 174 first proposed.

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