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Property owners want issues resolved before storm water system project begun

Those opposed to eminent domain proceedings want to be sure surveying marks are correct

February 01, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Property owners objecting to eminent domain proceedings in the Borough of Waynesboro aren't opposed to a storm water system project, but want certain issues resolved, their lawyer said Tuesday.

Objections listed in court documents include surveying marks they say don't match drawings and proximity of storm water drainage materials to existing buildings.

"None of my clients want to object to the project for the sake of holding it up," attorney James Stein said.

Stein represents Russell C. Weikert and Rose M. Halterman; Patricia A. Crouse and Larry L. Crouse Jr.; and Steven L. and Susan L. Bumbaugh. They own three of six properties affected by planned work on a stormwater outfall along Cemetery Avenue.

Owners of the other three properties signed off on easements associated with the work. The borough filed a "declaration of taking" in Franklin County Court for easements on the Weikert/Halterman, Crouse and Bumbaugh land.

The borough has been approved for a $6.3 million low-interest loan from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, commonly called PENNVEST, for the work. Earlier this month, Borough Solicitor Sam Wiser said delays in court could jeopardize that funding.

Wiser did not return a message Tuesday seeking comment on the project.

Waynesboro Borough Council President Craig Newcomer said the council will be updated on the matter at tonight's meeting.

"You can't do construction in that area without getting easements from them. (The project is) to make it better for them," Newcomer said.

Backed-up water in the system, which engineers called undersized, caused flooding in yards and homes in the past. Newcomer lamented that some of the same people who pushed for the problem to be fixed are now denying the needed easements, which court documents show to be up to 19,700 square feet for drainage and up to 7,400 for temporary construction access.

"They're the ones who wanted something done, and now they're holding up the project," Newcomer said.

Stein said the measurements and surveying need to be correct, saying less than four feet separates one property's deck's retaining wall from a proposed construction area.

"If the markings are off even a little bit, that makes it significantly less space," he said.

Stein said the property owners are willing to work with the borough outside of court to resolve their issues.

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Borough council meeting ...

What: Waynesboro Borough Council meeting

When: 7:15 p.m. today

Where: Borough Hall, 57 E. Main St., second floor

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