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Washington Twp. asked to take over Old Forge Road

September 17, 2010|By DANA BROWN

BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, Pa. -- Representatives for a land development group have asked the Washington Township Supervisors to consider seeking ownership of Old Forge Road from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation in an effort to bypass what they say is PennDOT's "unnecessary and improper requirements," which have stymied their residential development project.

Representatives for Carlino Development Group of Wyomissing, Pa., presented their case during the supervisors' workshop meeting on Wednesday, saying PennDOT is "oversizing the scope" of requirements for permits for their 187-acre Thornhill housing development on the site behind Walmart where Washington Township Boulevard meets Old Forge Road.

Dave Binder, attorney for Carlino Development Group, told the supervisors that PennDOT permit requirements have stalled progress of the development. Thornhill could more easily obtain the permits from the township, allowing them to move forward with the project, he said.

Binder said the company would make a monetary contribution to the township if it takes ownership of the Old Forge Road. He estimated the amount to be about $75,000, equal to amount they could save from bypassing PennDOT permit requirements, he said.

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Supervisor Jeff Geesaman pointed out that PennDOT's Turnback Program does provide money to cover costs associated with maintaining roads that are transferred back from state ownership to the local level.

Supervisor Elaine Gladhill said she is opposed to the township owning Old Forge Road, saying the road has "sight issues" she doesn't want the township to have to deal with.

"I have no interest in having anything to do with Old Forge Road," she said.

Board Chairman Stephen Kulla echoed Gladhill's concerns about safety issues related to Old Forge Road, adding that he would like to hear public comment from residents living on the road about the township owning it rather than PennDOT.

The supervisors took no action other than asking Township Manager Mike Christopher to get more information from PennDOT.

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