Greencastle council gives final comments on Comprehensive Plan

PAT FRIDGEN

Greencastle borough council is not interested in a loop road through Moss Spring Estates, and supported recommendations of the Planning Commission at the Sept. 6 council meeting. The PC had reviewed the July 2011 draft of the Joint Comprehensive Plan.

The section of the plan that generated responses was transportation. Council members Matt Smith, Craig Myers, James Farley, Charles Eckstine, Harry Foley, Paul Schemel and Duane Kinzer agreed that Moss Spring Avenue, Nova Drive and Walter Avenue should not become “neighborhood collector” streets, the term used in the document. They also asked that the borough, Antrim Township, and Greencastle-Antrim School District  explore future options to direct traffic to local collector and access roads in residential areas.

Kinzer stressed that “loop road” was a misnomer, and that council simply wanted more than one entrance into Moss Spring, for the safety of residents, and for ease of access by emergency vehicles. A side road led to Red Oak Estates, but those subdivision streets were fairly narrow. Council saw the entire issue of access as something for Franklin County to address.

Council members wanted everyone to look at the big picture, though, and none planned to ever put trucks through the neighborhoods. Any routes were seen as shortcuts for residents to get home and avoid traffic jams downtown.

Kinzer added that it was easy to delete sections to the Comprehensive Plan. The difficulty was replacing them with something workable. Additionally, all three collector streets entered Antrim, which had the final say in what was ever done.

Parking problems

Three residents from North Jefferson Street expressed frustration that they could not park in front of their homes on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights because patrons of Highline Coffee House and Cafe were using their frontage. Two of them did not have their own off-street parking. They asked if there was a remedy, since they hadn’t gotten much co-operation from the owners of the business.

Aware that Jefferson was a public street, council president Eckstine said he would have the Public Safety Committee look into options.

Zoning change

The borough solicitor was authorized to draft and advertise a zoning map change. One portion of West Baltimore Street would switch from general residential to highway commercial, and a part of West Franklin Street would change from general residential to community commercial.

Borough manager Kenneth Womack explained that with the Route 16/U.S. 11 intersection improvement, two Baltimore properties were affected by a wider right-of-way. Both owners requested the change so zoning would be the same as across the street.

The rezoning on Franklin would allow a property previously in decline to be developed in a manner consistent with neighboring properties. Womack said it would also enhance the tax base.

The Planning Commission and borough staff favored both rezonings, the latter of which would support a Five Year Strategic Plan goal of developing property to provide housing options for all segments of the population, including senior citizens.

Special requests

James Laye from Jim’s Tavern, 200 W. Madison St., asked the borough to let him close off Carl Avenue from 1 to 6 p.m. on Oct. 9 when he hosted 200 UPS Freight Benefit Riders. The motorcycle riders were raising money for Autism Speaks and Stepping Stones/ARC of Washington County. He also wanted permission from the borough to serve beer in cups in the parking lot, so he could get a permit from the Liquor Control Board.

Council approved closing North Carl Avenue and Pine Lane for the afternoon, but did not address the beer issue.

“We’re not going there,” said Kinzer.

They had reviewed Ordinance 64-2, which did not allow consumption of any alcoholic beverage within five feet of a public way while on private property open to public view.

Events for the calendar

Borough Halloween Trick or Treat night was designated as Thursday, Oct. 27, from 6 to 8 p.m. Anyone participating should turn on their porch lights.

The Halloween parade, sponsored by the Greencastle Exchange Club, was set for 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28.

The annual Christmas parade will be Saturday, Nov. 19.

Other business

Foley reported on the 2010 Greencastle audit and financial statement submitted by Boyer and Ritter. The financial status of the borough was “very healthy”.

Foley credited council with being able to hold taxes steady for the past eight years, and investing in technology which made the employees more efficient at their jobs. He said Womack’s performance was “marvelous. You are on top of it all.”

Womack said the management letter did say the borough needed to create an accounting policies and procedures manual, and he would do that.