Antrim Township, Atapco closer to business park agreement

Discussion of traffic lights dominates discussion Tuesday

August 12, 2010|By DANA BROWN

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- The Antrim Township Board of Supervisors and Atapco representatives are closer to reaching an agreement that could move forward the development of a business park off Exit 3 of Interstate 81.

During a lengthy discussion with Atapco representatives at the supervisors' board meeting Tuesday night, board members expressed concerns about costs to the township associated with traffic lights that would be installed at the off-ramps at Exit 3 as part of the planned business park.

The supervisors wanted clarification from Atapco on who would install the traffic lights and who would be responsible for the maintenance of the lights.

Negotiations toward what is termed an assumption agreement between the township and Atapco have been ongoing for several months.

Paul Schemel, who represented Atapco at the board meeting, said Atapco would install two traffic lights but would accept maintenance responsibility for the northbound light only. Atapco asked the township to be responsible for the southbound light.


Antrim Township Solicitor John Lisko cautioned the board that Pennsylvania Department of Transportation might require a third light based on a traffic study of the location that PennDOT would conduct. Cost for a third light, if required by PennDOT, should also be Atapco's responsibility, Lisko said.

Schemel told the board that Atapco had a traffic study done that showed only two lights would be needed, one at each Exit 3 ramp.

He told the board that Atapco would be helping the township by installing the lights. Because Atapco would not contribute much traffic to the southbound intersection, the township should consider taking responsibility for that traffic light, Schemel said.

Schemel said Atapco was "saying to the township, 'Can we get some help here?'"

Because PennDOT would do their own traffic study before making a determination about the number of traffic lights needed, Supervisor James Byers questioned how a decision could be made at this time.

"We're trying to make a decision on an unknown," Byers said.

Lisko suggested that the board consider requiring Atapco to set up an escrow account for costs associated with maintaining the second light.

Atapco's representatives agreed that the concept of an escrow account was appropriate but told the board they would have to discuss it with their client before they could agree to it.

Board Chairman Rick Baer said he would look into the maintenance costs for traffic lights and provide the figures to Atapco. He suggested the amount of $50,000 might be an acceptable amount to be deposited by Atapco in an escrow account for one light.

"That should get it through about 10 years," Baer said.

According to Brad Graham, township administrator, Atapco has received federal money to make changes to Exit 3 for their business park. The funds are channeled through PennDOT, Graham said.

DOT guidelines say that in order for the money to be administered, Atapco needs to have a local sponsoring agency to track funds, oversee the engineering and bare responsibility of the project. Graham said because the township lacks experience with such a large project, they must enter into an assumption agreement with Atapco which places responsibilities on Atapco and puts safeguards in place to eliminate risks the township might experience, Graham said.

The Herald-Mail Articles