Coseytown residents want to put the brakes on trucks
By PAT FRIDGEN
Vonda Haney broke into tears as she described the bumps on Coseytown Road, created since Charles E. Brake Co. of St. Thomas began hauling construction fill to a nearby residential lot in May. Her children would bump their heads in the car from the jostling due to the resulting rugged terrain.
She and 20 neighbors spoke to the Antrim Township Board of Supervisors July 28 about the heavy truck traffic which has been hauling asphalt, concrete and rock from a construction site on Jonathan Street in Hagerstown, Md. It is being deposited at 4108 Coseytown Road to fill in a ravine for Dorothy Emmons, who wants a backyard.
Emmons received a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in January 2008 for clean fill and for the installation of 300 feet of 10-to-15 inch pipe to direct a tributary of the Conococheague Creek.
Other families living along Coseytown saw the project as a detriment to the township. They says they have watched the road deteriorate because dump trucks, counted at 20 in one day, carry heavy loads which have broken up the right side of the road.
Antrim roadmaster Paul Minnich had reported to the supervisors at their July 22 meeting that he was receiving complaints and his crew had been repairing a number of holes in the rural road.
Charles Shahan rallied the neighbors to address the board and ask for action.
“Who is responsible for replacing and repairing the road and for the safety of the people?”
Several visitors spoke of the trucks traveling too fast, often over the center line, and taking curves at high speeds despite reduced visibility. They were fearful of potential accidents, especially when school started and children would be waiting for buses.
Shahan suggested weight limits on Coseytown Road, which currently do not exist.
Keith Meyers was concerned about the lack of a silt fence. “The Army Corps of Engineers must have a loophole to do dumping without erosion control. It affects everyone downstream.”
Kenneth Wagner submitted photographs showing the fill 20 feet higher than the adjoining neighbor’s property. Tom Bowe thought the pipe to channel water would collapse over the long term. Charles Rine wondered if the Chesapeake Bay Foundation was aware of what would eventually reach its waterway.
The supervisors present, James Byers, Samuel Miller and Fred Young III, understood the upset.
“Common sense says the road is being destroyed,” said Byers. “Legally, we have to have an engineer involved before we can do anything. It’s frustrating.”
The township had a figure of $3,000 from Martin and Martin Engineering for a traffic study to determine weight limits.
Administrator Brad Graham said Coseytown was on the list to be paved in 2010, but would likely get postponed until the ACE permit expired in 2011.
Sylvia House, zoning officer, had investigated some of the water issues as they applied to DEP. “It’s a natural waterway,” she said of the tributary. “If the water starts and stops at the same point, what happens in between, they don’t care. I was floored.”
Solicitor John Lisko said the filling in of a site was not a violation under the Municipal Planning Code. There was nothing Antrim could do to regulate it. The one option was to authorize an engineering study.
The board finally voted to proceed with that after getting three quotes. House also offered to provide links on the township website so residents could contact agencies about their complaints, including the Franklin County Soil Conservation District, charged with inspecting the site. Graham said sometimes being a “squeaky wheel” worked.
Mary Ann Shaffer, FCSCD Erosion and Sediment Control Specialist, declined to answer questions about her inspections of the property unless a Right To Know request was filed.