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Supervisors' take annual inspection road trip

April 19, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Men and women elected to municipal boards in Pennsylvania typically spend much of their time attending meetings, cutting ribbons and reviewing thick documents like studies and plot plans.

The Washington Township Supervisors, however, in the past year have taken several road trips, including a tour of the area with contracted comprehensive planners and another to communities employing principles known as "Conservation by Design."

On Friday, they piled into a minivan and participated in a decades-long tradition of annual "roads inspection."

Winding along many of the township's 83 miles of municipally owned roads and some state-owned ones, the supervisors pointed out potholes and necessary shoulder work, learned about pending projects and questioned the status of various residential developments.

The trip started at 8 a.m. on South Welty Road, and they soon moved onto Lyons Road where crews are downing trees and widening sections of pavement. Township Manager Mike Christopher reported that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is considering the bridge at Lyons Road and Pa. 997 (at the bottom of State Hill Road) for replacement in 2010.

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The day's second stop was at Bruce Neibert's junkyard on Pa. 316 south of Waynesboro. When renewing his license for 2007, the supervisors warned Neibert they would be visiting the site to further address what they perceive as violations of the township's nuisance ordinance.

They again told Neibert he needs to have all refuse contained behind the tree line and removed from the west side of the road. He was told to submit a plan of action for the supervisors' May 2 workshop meeting.

Neibert said he has been receiving two or three junk vehicles at the site daily.

Moving onto several neighborhoods off Iron Bridges Road, the supervisors looked at homes built on lots ranging from 2 to 5 acres. They discussed the merits and pitfalls of building on bigger lots, balancing the desire for open space in the township with the then-created need to run water and sewer lines and roads farther from a central location.

As the minivan reached the western end of the township, Christopher explained how cooperation from agricultural proponents there has helped the area avoid the booming development seen in the eastern portion.

"We've been very successful in keeping this part of the world undeveloped," Christopher said.

The east vs. west division also played into discussions about signs. Supervisors are reviewing the township's sign ordinance.

A couple supervisors remarked that signs in the western part of the township are smaller and tasteful, while they view some in the eastern section as unruly.

"Most of the small, privately owned (business) ones are nice," Supervisor John Gorman said.

Christopher or a supervisor often would make a note of where a road is "failing," meaning the pavement is cracked or worn. The group lamented several failures on North Potomac Street (behind Northside Pool) believed to be caused by tractor-trailers.

"They're using it as a bypass and tearing it up," Christopher said.

Christopher said he would ask officials from the Borough of Waynesboro to consider partnering to repave the street and limit truck traffic on it.

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