Whose right (of way)? Resident questions township

By on February 13, 2013

By: MELINDA ELMER Record Express Correspondent, Staff Writer

Elizabeth Township resident Tom Benjamin, of Mayberry Drive, is not happy that the township owns 2,000 square feet of his front yard.

Benjamin told the township supervisors on Monday that he obtained a driveway permit a few years ago with the intention of adding a 400 square foot garage in the future. When he recently applied for a building permit for the garage, he was surprised to learn that he owned 2,000 square feet less land than he thought he did.

Benjamin had not known that Elizabeth Township owns a 10 foot wide roadside strip of the front lawns of all the homes in his development. He sees two options for his dilemma: the township can sell his front yard back to him, or he will plant bushes along the property line and stop caring for the 10 feet along the road. What’s more, he will hold the township accountable for keeping that 10 feet mowed in accordance with its own ordinance.

Benjamin contends that most municipalities use a right of way system in which the property owner owns all the land, but the municipality retains the right to use 10 feet on either side of the road for maintenance purposes.

Benjamin is also concerned by the number of tractor trailers driving on Reifsnyder Road, near his development.

"The road is not meant for semi trucks. The time for asking is done," he said, referring to asking Snavely’s Mill to ask its drivers to use main roads.

The township has found Snavely’s to be very cooperative in the past, but the trucks using Reifsnyder Road are not all owned by the mill.

The supervisors will take both matters under the advisement of the township solicitor.

Also attending Monday’s Elizabeth Township Supervisors meeting was Penryn Fire Chief Shannon Martin.

Martin thanked the supervisors and township residents served by the Penryn Fire Company for their support. The annual fund drive resulted in a 40 percent return rate, one of the top five return rates in the county. Revenues from the drive were about $60,000, down about $3,700 from a record high last year. The big annual fund-raiser is the Mud Sale, to be held on March 16 this year. A state grant covered the cost of five sets of turn-out gear and the replacement of 1,100 feet of two-inch hose.

A big expense last year was rebuilding the engine on one of the fire trucks. Martin thanked Garman’s Garage for giving "a good deal on parts and labor" to keep the cost down.

Fire damage in the coverage area last year was just $2,500, down from a record $1.8 million in 2011. The fire company answered 94 calls in 2012, again down from 2011’s 186 calls.

The fire officers developed a map and reflective signs demarcating the 12 fill sites in the area for drafting water into tanker trucks from natural sources such as lakes and streams. The map has been shared with other area fire companies.

Fire company officials have also worked closely with Pleasant View Retirement Community to put two fire hydrants in the community. The new wing of the main building and parts of the older building were equipped with sprinklers last year.

"Hopefully we’ll never have to use them," Martin said.

The Penryn Fire Company, in conjunction with Manheim and Mastersonville fire companies, is working with local ambulance responders to learn to rehab firefighters who are working. The firefighters will have their vital signs checked and will be rehydrated and perhaps given food. They will not be allowed to return to the line until their vitals are good.

"They need to have break times," Martin explained. "We’re trying to catch (health problems) before (they) get out of hand, but it’s a hard sell. The work ethic around here is ‘Get in and get it done.’ This is a new mindset to get people into. Most are on board, but there are a few who try to buck the system and dodge it."

Supervisor Jeff Burkholder thanked Martin for his company’s assistance with the recent funeral for longtime Brickerville Fire Chief Sid Adams. Martin said that he is sure that incoming Chief Jeff Strauss "is very capable. He knows what he’s doing, but it’s a big job. I’ve offered our assistance, and if we all give our support, the transition will be good."

In other business, the supervisors voted to contract the services of The Critter Catcher to pick up stray dogs in the township. Mike Miller will keep the dogs for two days and then transport them to the Lancaster County Humane League, now a no-kill shelter, for a fee. His rate for daytime pickups is $110, nighttime pickups are $150, and the transportation fee is $55. The Humane League also charges the municipality $100. Burkholder said, "Don’t lose your dog!"

The Summer Playground program for Elizabeth Township is in jeopardy. Lititz recCenter staff provides supervised games and crafts for children ages five through 12 two mornings a week during the summer at the municipal playground on Southview Drive. Last year’s program was moved to the Elizabeth Township Park for part of the summer and attendance dropped significantly before the program returned to the Southview Drive location. The supervisors and the recCenter need to know if there is a demand for the program. Contact the supervisors at 626-4302 or the recCenter at 626-5096.

The supervisors approved the use of the various ball fields at the Elizabeth Township Park by a number of local sports clubs during 2013.

Supervisors also approved the purchase of a 39,000 pound Peterbuilt dump truck package for about $150,000, as per the 2013 budget. The final price is still being worked out.

In other business:

? The Brickerville Fire Company responded to seven fire calls, 30 ambulance calls and seven fire police incidents in January.

? The zoning officer issued eight permits in January for work valued at $345,750.

? There was one burning ordinance violation in January. A resident was burning rubbish and decided to also burn a stripped-down fiberglass boat. Supervisor Rodney May received a complaint around 9 p.m. He asked the fire department to assist. About 12 firefighters responded to the non-emergency call and put out the fire. The resident was warned and was given a copy of the township’s burning ordinance, which forbids the burning of items which release toxic fumes and burning after dark. May publicly thanks the volunteer firefighters.

? The planning commission will hold a workshop meeting Thursday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m.

? The next regular planning commission meeting will be Wednesday, March 6, at 7 p.m.

? The spring road inspection tour will be on Saturday, March 9, at 7:30a.m.

? Supervisors will meet on Monday, March 11, at 7 p.m., at the municipal building, 423 South View Drive, Brickerville.

Community Events:

? The monthly collection of recyclables will be Saturday, March 2, from 8 until noon at the municipal building on South View Drive.

? The Lititz Library provides a free story hour for preschoolers and a caregiver the second Friday of each month at 10 a.m. at the municipal building. This month’s story time will be on March 8. No pre-registration is needed. Call the library at 626-2255 for information.

? The Penryn Fire Company’s Annual Mud Sale will be on Saturday, March 16. The grocery sale and chicken barbecue will be on Friday, March 15.

? The Baron Stiegel Lions Club Easter Egg Hunt will be on Saturday, March 30, at 1 p.m. in the picnic grove along Route 322, opposite the United Lutheran Church.

? The Penn Township-Pleasant View Retirement Village Community Day and 5K Run will be on Saturday, May 4.

? The annual Rec Alliance Bike Ride will be on Sunday, June 23.

? The Brickerville Fire Company offers Bingo every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the fire hall, 10 Hopeland Road. A light supper is available. More ELIZABETH TWP, page A10

About Lititz Record