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Borough-township plan draws few comments at Waynesboro hearing

September 24, 2008|By DON AINES

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Enhancing commercial areas, downtown revitalization, industrial reinvestment and residential reinvestment are targeted in a draft of a joint comprehensive plan for Washington Township and Waynesboro which was the subject of a public hearing Tuesday.

"This is not a zoning ordinance. It's not a zoning map. Certainly, it's a guide for zoning," said Glenn Neuhs, a planning consultant with Spott, Stevens & McCoy, the firm helping the two governments put the plan together. Within two years, zoning and subdivision and land development ordinances would have to be updated to make them consistent with the plan's goals and objectives, he said.

Other major aspects of the plan include studying the potential of a southern bypass of Waynesboro to divert truck traffic and completion of the northern relief route, Washington Township Boulevard.

"It's not binding, but it is a foundation," said Realtor Darwyn Benedict. However, he said the plan needs specific definitions as to what is meant by terms such as mixed land use and protecting natural resources.

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The plan is a broad statement of what the township and borough wish to accomplish, Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger said.

"The devil is in the details," Hamberger said.

Mary Cantwell of Blue Ridge Summit said she wanted more in the plan about recreation, bike paths and tourism. John Gorman of Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., suggested lower density development in environmentally sensitive areas such as Happel's Meadow.

Commercial Enhancement Areas are primarily along Pa. 16 between Zullinger and Blue Ridge Summit and on Pa. 997 north of the borough, according to the plan. Tools to achieve that enhancement include plans to address lighting, signs, landscaping, traffic improvements and pedestrian routes, the plan states.

The Downtown Revitalization Area is the borough center and the plan's recommendations are to implement the borough's Downtown Master Plan, recruiting "appropriate" retailers, creating "gateway signage" and pedestrian links from parking areas to Main Street, the plan states.

Securing land and buildings for industrial development, fostering new businesses and redeveloping old industrial sites are some of the strategies suggested in the plan for Industrial Reinvestment Areas.

Creating an Elm Street neighborhood revitalization program similar to Chambersburg's is a strategy for Residential Reinvestment Areas within the borough. Down-payment assistance to encourage home ownership and programs to foster renovations are recommended in the plan.

The plan will be reviewed for changes by the planning commissions of the township and borough which, under the terms of a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, must be adopted by the borough council and board of supervisors by year's end.

Township Manager Mike Christopher said the process will include another joint public hearing on the plan.

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