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Township, property owners near deal on trees

July 29, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Washington Township officials are near an agreement with property owners who have trees some neighbors say create visibility problems at the intersection of Mentzer Gap Road and Hearthwood Drive.

Township Manager Mike Christopher said he talked to Vivian Hickman on Wednesday about an evergreen tree on the private property of her and her husband, James.

"She referred me to Tree Movers, which is a company out of Hagerstown," Christopher said at Wednesday's township supervisors meeting, saying he received a $1,000 estimate from the company to move the 20-foot-high tree elsewhere on site.

The township removed trees from its right of way. However, a few remaining trees -- and one Douglas fir in particular -- reportedly cause problems for some motorists.

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The township supervisors had threatened to take the trees and land under them through eminent domain, but on Wednesday, they said they would prefer to pay $1,000 and allow the Hickmans to pick a new location.

"It's a lot of money, but it's certainly not as costly as a life or injury," Supervisor Stephen Kulla said.

The supervisors said they want to negotiate an agreement that trees cannot be planted in the line of sight. They said they want that agreement attached to the property deed as a restriction.

"If you're going to tell them they can't plant trees there, it's going to cost you money," Christopher said.

"I'd like to get this wrapped up quickly, but permanently," Kulla said.

Supervisor Christopher Firme said the tree's health might be adversely affected if it's moved in the summer.

In other business, the supervisors talked about the trees being planted around the Washington Township Boulevard bridge. Their contract included $15,000 for about 900 trees, but they're looking to renegotiate for fewer trees at a lower cost.

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