Controversy arises on Patton Bridge Road

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

Any activity toward abandoning the end of Patton Bridge Road is on hold for two weeks while adjacent property owners try to work out details. The Antrim Township Board of Supervisors had agreed to start proceedings at its Sept. 13 meeting, at the request of William and Heidi Yaukey, and Glenn Dice, because the end of the road was used for parties and as a dumping ground. The residents wanted the gate of the dead-end road moved forward to discourage unwanted visitors. However, at the Sept. 27 meeting, owners of the field behind the gate appeared at the township meeting with attorney Thomas Steiger, Jr. to oppose the move.

Dean Meyers, 3975 Williamson Road, and Lee Meyers, 5870 Patton Road, said Patton Bridge Road was the only access to the field. Yaukey attorney Paul Schemel said the issue only came to light the day before, but he and his clients, the Yaukeys and Dice, thought the process leading to a public hearing could still progress, when all points of view could be considered.

Supervisor Fred Young III suggested a delay for a couple weeks, which would give both sides time to meet and perhaps find an agreeable compromise, before either spent a lot in legal fees. Township solicitor John Lisko said there were ways to give the Meyers' permanent easement to their property. He said the farmers had taken a similar action in the past, when they abandoned Patton Road past the gate and planted crops. A bridge over the Conococheague Creek at the juncture of the two roads was also gone, which used to allow access to the field from the west end of Patton Road in Peters Township. Steiger's concern was that future owners of the land might not recognize any deeded easements.

Antrim zoning officer Sylvia House said if the Meyers ever wanted to develop their field, there would be no way in. She acknowledged that at least part of the 70-acre plot was in a floodplain, as was Patton Bridge Road.

The supervisors will address the matter Oct. 11.

The board also made a motion concerning a sidewalk waiver for Brett Crouse, 315 Hykes Road E., who believed following the ordinance on sidewalk installation would be a detriment to pedestrians. He said the slope on one side of his corner property was steep due to a swale, and people walking or riding a bike on a sidewalk there risked falling off. Crouse said the homeowners association asked him to put a sidewalk just to the street and to get a formal action from the township. Young, Curtis Myers and Rick Baer voted to grant the waiver, concurring it would be more harmful to the public to put a sidewalk there rather than leaving it as grass. James Byers voted no. He preferred sidewalks throughout the entire development. Sam Miller was absent.

Other business

The board hired Harold Newcomer as part-time custodian and laborer. His hours will not exceed 32 per week.

It approved changes to health plan documents revised under Health Care Reform regulations. One item of concern was supplemental health insurance for retired employees who were enrolled in Medicare at age 65. Retirees at any age could be covered under the township's medical plan until 65, but would pay their own premiums. At that point, the Benecon document was not clear on who would pay for the Medicare supplement. Lisko and township secretary Mary Klein had reviewed the information and made phone calls, but still did not have clarity on the ambiguous language. The board vote unanimously not to pay for the supplement, indicating private sector employees did not receive such a benefit.

Antrim administrator Brad Graham asked for two volunteers to meet with businesses on future development, especially at exit 3. Byers said he could not get off work for meetings during the day, Myers was not interested since he was going off the board in a few months, so Young and Baer agreed to serve. They were to report to the board for any official action.

The supervisors granted fulltime employees one free usage of a park pavilion per year, eliminating the $50 rental fee.

After an executive session, the board voted to release documents requested by Fayetteville Contractors through the Freedom of Information Act.