Barracks closure, Acorn Lane discussed at Elizabeth Twp. meeting

By on July 11, 2012

By: MELINDA S. ELMER Record Express Correspondent, Staff Writer

Elizabeth Township Supervisors are taking a "wait and see" attitude about possible repercussions of the State Police decision to close the Ephrata Barracks.

The supervisors received an e-mail from the captain of Troop J informing them of the Aug.17 closure. "All state police incidents for this township will be dispatched from Lancaster," the e-mail said.

Supervisor Chairman Brian Wiker said he has been informed that the police will have at least one patrol car in the area and response times should not be affected.

Sgt. Erin Magee of Ephrata’s Troop J told the supervisors in April that the local barracks might have to close. "It all comes down to money," Magee said at that time. The supervisors then sent letters to various governmental officials asking that the Ephrata barracks be kept open.

There were 159 police incidents in the township during April, May and June combined.

In other correspondence, the supervisors received a copy of a joint press release from Pennsylvania Representatives John Bear and Tom Creighton saying that the governor has agreed to release over six million dollars from the coming fiscal year’s budget for the repair of the Speedwell Forge Dam.

"Speedwell Forge (lake) is a tremendous asset to our community, so we as a delegation are very pleased that we were able to secure the funds necessary to repair its dam," said Rep. Bear (R-Lancaster).

The dam and spillway were damaged in 2011 by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. The lake has been drained and now looks like a meadow with a stream meandering through it.

Gov. Tom Corbett said the "capital flood control project for the Speedwell Forge Dam … has been released for design and is moving through the Department of General Services capital project process."

Township assistant secretary-treasurer Rita Snavely reported that the Lancaster County Conservation District said the damaged dam cannot be breached until the sedimentation and erosion control plan is approved by the LCCD.

In other business, the ongoing discussion of poor visibility at the intersection of Acorn Lane, a private drive, with Long Lane, a public road, yielded no results but did produce more information and ideas for solutions.

The property owner has been sent a letter giving her a specified time frame to clear the line of sight or the township will remove the offending bushes for her. Wiker understands that "no one wants the government on their property pulling out bushes; I don’t want to intrude on somebody else’s property."

Road Superintendent Glenn Martin said he visited the site. He measured ten feet back Acorn Lane from the intersection, as required, and looked toward the row of 33 mailboxes and the surrounding bushes that are allegedly blocking the view of oncoming traffic. Martin said the bushes are not the problem; weeds and the mailboxes themselves are blocking the line of sight.

Sharon Getz, sister of the property owner where the mailboxes for Acorn Lane are located, gave the reasoning behind the bushes and the weeds. She said the bushes are for privacy, because residents stop their cars at the mailboxes on the edge of her sister’s property and socialize and play loud music. She said the Acorn Lane residents destroyed flower plantings when they used a backhoe to replace the mailbox posts without contacting her sister. Apparently no one now maintains the area around the mailboxes.

Martin clarified the meaning of Right of Way. "People get confused by Right of Way. It is still her property; people can’t just go on there. Right of Way is for the township, to widen and maintain roads; it’s not for everybody."

Getz said that her grandparents had granted a few people’s requests to put a mailbox on the property, but "now everybody thinks they can put a box there. The mailboxes are the problem, not the hedge."

Acorn Lane resident Harvey Turner, whose property also adjoins Long Lane, said he has offered to allow the mailboxes to be placed on his property, but "no one wants to (do the work to) move them."

Other ideas presented at the meeting included placing the mailboxes on the other side of Long Lane along a farm field, or using a gang-box system similar to those found in apartment complexes.

The property owner said she has contacted a regional postal supervisor who said that mailboxes may be placed on Acorn Drive. An employee of the Lititz post office said that postal employees do not make regular mail deliveries on any of the private lanes in the jurisdiction; mailboxes for all residents must be at the end of the private drive. The post office occasionally needs signatures from mail recipients and does deliver oversize packages to the door, so the carrier occasionally travels up private drives.

Township staff will contact postal officials to learn post office regulations about mailbox placement.

Supervisor Rodney May offered to help move the mailboxes if that is the decision

Wiker was in favor of asking the township engineer to visit the site to give his opinion. May read a portion of the zoning ordinance and said, "I think that’s pretty clear."

Martin asked, "What sight distances are you looking to enforce?" No one specified any numbers.

Wiker summed up the supervisors’ position. "We’re trying to suit everybody. We’re trying to keep people safe. We don’t want to intrude on anyone’s property. We don’t want to be mediators between neighbors."

The issue will be kept on the agenda for next month’s supervisors’ meeting.

In other business:

? The Brickerville Fire Company responded to seven fire calls, 51 ambulance calls and ten fire police incidents in June.

? The Zoning officer issued eight permits in June for work valued at $201,040.

? The Sewage Enforcement officer issued permits for one new system and one repair in June.

? The Road Superintendent reported that the dirt and gravel roads have been sprayed with dust oil, and the oil and chip paving projects are completed. The Old Pike Bridge is open. The guide rail at the Snavely Mill Bridge will be replaced; the mill will pay for an upgrade from standard metal rail to wooden rail. At the Elizabeth Township Park, the walkways are ready to be paved.

? There was no comment during a public hearing to amend the township pension plan. The changes were in the way the plan is administered, not to the plan itself.

? Supervisors agreed to contribute $600 to the Warwick Emergency Services Alliance to hire a person to write a grant for portable radios. There is no guarantee that a grant will be received. Action on a WESA administrator position was tabled until the supervisors get more information from partners in the Borough of Lititz and Warwick Township.

? Supervisors appointed Zoning Officer Barry Wagner as Enforcement Officer for Elizabeth Township Park rules and regulations.

? The Planning Commission will meet on July 19 and Aug.1 at 7 p.m.

? The monthly collection of recyclables will be on Aug. 4, from 8 a.m. until noon at the municipal building on South View Drive.

? The Zoning Hearing Board will meet on Aug.8 at 7 p.m.

? The Board of Supervisors will meet on Aug.13, at 7 p.m. at the municipal building at 423 South View Drive, Brickerville.

? The Elizabeth Township Park pavilion is available to rent for $65. Call Regional Recreation Director Curt Strasheim at the Lititz RecCenter at 626-5096 ext. 237.

Community Events:

? The Lititz RecCenter’s free summer playground program at Elizabeth Township Park is in session. Because of poor attendance at the park on Keener Road, the remaining sessions will be held at the playground at the municipal building on South View Drive, closer to the eligible population. Organized programs for children ages 5 through 12 will be held Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 8 a.m. until noon through Aug. 9. The Thursday evening sessions only have been canceled. The RecCenter staff has been trained in first aid and has had background checks and clearances. No pre-registration is required, although information must be provided the first time the child attends the program. More ELIZABETH TWP., page A6

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