Planning Commission has become a balancing act, says outgoing member

January 18, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Land development plans under review by the Washington Township (Pa.) Planning Commission usually come with locator terms like "Mason" and "Diller."

They refer to the last names of farmers whose land often will eventually support commercial and residential development.

In the most recent of his 30 years on the planning commission, Ezra G. Fitz reviewed with increased frequency plans for thousands of houses, restaurants, big-box retailers and stores on farms whose names had virtually become landmarks.

"When I first got on, I never had a vision it would be like this," Fitz said.

When Fitz was appointed in February 1976, the three-member commission reviewed only a handful of plans each month. Fitz, 84, was not reappointed when his term expired Dec. 31, 2006.

Open space preservation and smart growth have accompanied the township's transitions, Fitz said.

"The residents of Washington Township can be proud of the way the township has progressed," he said.


The most challenging part of the now five-member commission's job is balancing the desires of residents, farmers and developers while rezoning, Fitz said.

"Each case needs to stand on its own," he said.

The township supervisors on Monday honored Fitz and his wife of 64 years, Rosalie, who typed the commission's meeting minutes for more than a decade. Fitz said that, more than anything, he'll miss the people he met while on the commission.

Washington Township is approximately 39 square miles surrounding the Borough of Waynesboro.

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