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Updated list could help protect Pa. township's historic properties

September 14, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, PA. - Early steps are being taken to enact safeguards that could better protect historic properties in Washington Township, Pa.

In May, the former Stephey's Tavern on Pa. 16 in Rouzerville, Pa., was demolished. A portion of the adjacent vehicle dealership's inventory is parked there.

Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee reportedly stopped at the tavern for dinner during the retreat from Gettysburg.

"There was quite an uproar over (the demolition of) Stephey's Tavern," said Jim Fisher, a board member of the Waynesboro Historical Society.

The historical society received a letter last month from the chairman of the Washington Township Supervisors. In it, Carroll Strum asked for an update to an old list of historic properties.

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The supervisors are seeking to create regulations that would give them additional oversight before demolition permits are issued, Sturm said.

Some of the structures on the existing list have the wrong addresses and are shown within the wrong municipal boundaries, Sturm said.

"The list is a little bit out of date, and I think it reflects the prevailing opinions of another time. ... I suspect we might start defining them differently than someone did 20 or 30 years ago," Fisher said.

A new ordinance could buy the township time before demolition, although not prohibit it, Sturm said.

"Right now, they can just go for demolition of any building," he said. "Our thinking, so far, is that we couldn't absolutely deny it, but we could certainly talk to them about other alternatives."

Sturm said he would like demolition plans to go before the supervisors and have public input before approved.

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