Waynesboro Council backs off slightly on church traffic study

September 07, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH |

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Debate regarding a traffic impact study for the new Otterbein Church planned for construction on Welty Road dominated Wednesday night’s Waynesboro Borough Council meeting.

At issue is the first traffic study being required by the borough council under an amendment to its subdivision and land development ordinance. Church officials have expressed concern about one component of the traffic study in which they were asked to take a pavement sample to assess the road’s condition.

That portion of the study asked them to address the current condition of the road as well as the effect of construction and future traffic.

“That requirement goes beyond a normal, typical traffic study. ... It feels to us we’re being positioned or set up to pay for rebuilding the road or contributing to that in the future,” said Mike Newman, pastor of the church that is currently on South Potomac Street.

Councilman Ronnie Martin said he wanted documentation about the road’s condition.

“When you build the church, I want the borough protected, so your parishioners (or) the Waynesboro Stallions (youth football league) don’t come in and say, ‘We want this road rebuilt right now,’” Martin said.

“We don’t have the money” to rebuild, he said.

Councilman Craig Newcomer has opposed requiring a traffic study for several weeks.

“I’ll go on the record right now — Welty Road needs to be paved right now. Why should (the church) have to pay for that?” he asked.

Newman said the church will address things like traffic signals and turn lanes, but he said the road quality is the borough’s responsibility.

“We are a non-issue for the quality of that road,” he said.

After 45 minutes of debate, Martin said he’d no longer push the request to take a road sample. The borough council voted unanimously to require the traffic study without the section on road conditions.

Plans for the site were scaled back from the church’s original design. They now feature an 800-seat church with 545 parking spaces. According to Otterbein Church’s website, the church purchased 59 acres off Welty Road for $1.2 million in 2007 and later sold seven acres.

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