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Greene Township OKs transportation improvements plan

March 28, 2007|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Greene Township Board of Supervisors on Tuesday took another step toward the imposition of transportation impact fees, adopting a transportation capital improvements plan that calls for more than $12 million in road upgrades over the next decade.

"The capital improvements plan had to be adopted before we could adopt an ordinance" for impact fees, Supervisor Charles D. Jamison said. The ordinance could be adopted today when the board holds a public hearing at 7 p.m.

The fees in the seven transportation service areas (TSAs) in the township have been revised three times, in most cases going lower. Three projects were removed from the plan, including a connector road between the Cumberland Valley Business Park and Pa. 997. Greene Township is one of the fastest growing municipalities in Franklin County, and is expecting substantial increases in commercial and residential development and traffic in the next decade.

Also removed were plans to widen Walker and Letterkenny roads to three lanes, Jamison said.

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The final plan calls for impact fees of $2,065 per "peak PM trip" in TSA 1 and $1,503 in TSA 2, both in the western end of the township. The Cumberland Valley Business Park is divided about evenly between the TSAs.

John Van Horn, executive director of the Letterkenny Industrial Development Authority, which runs the park, said the fees for TSA 1 and 2 were more than $3,000 when first proposed.

The authority's board of directors, concerned about the effect that impact fees could have on the sale of land at the park, has asked that it be exempted, or that the fees be modified or capped, Van Horn said.

The highest impact fee is in TSA 4 at $2,531, according to the plan prepared by Trans Associates, a consulting firm hired by the township. It is bounded by Chambersburg and Guilford Township to the south.

The other proposed fees, based on the amount of transportation improvements needed in those areas, are $1,778 in TSA 3, $1,008 in TSA 5, $1,809 in TSA 6 and $1,086 in TSA 7.

While the impact fee on a new house will be whatever the base fee is in each TSA, Jamison said determining how many vehicle trips a commercial or industrial project will create is far more difficult, he said.

That job will be left to Trans Associates rather than township staff, he said.

"There aren't any rights of way and, at this time, no defined route of travel" for the connector road, Jamison said. The project will "be looked at down the road," he said.

Jamison said the township will explore the idea of reserving a corridor for a connector road to keep it from being closed off by future development.

As for the Walker Road and Letterkenny Road projects, Jamison said there is insufficient right of way on some sections of those roads to include a center turn lane.

If adopted, the fees are expected to generate about $6.7 million over the next decade, with an interim $1,000 impact fee adopted in 2005 bringing in another $1 million. The interim impact fee will be terminated if the ordinance is adopted.

The other $5 million for the proposed transportation improvements likely would have to come from federal, state or township governments, Jamison said.

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