Antrim still in middle of Patton Bridge Road debate

PAT FRIDGEN

Antrim Township solicitor John Lisko thought issues on a proposed agreement moving a gate forward at the end of Patton Bridge Road were minor, and they could be worked out. He and supervisors Curtis Myers, Fred Young III and Rick Baer listened to the opinions of residents living on the road, who hadn't quite come to mutual terms on conditions for closing the dead end to the general public. Sam Miller and James Byers were absent from the Nov. 10 meeting, held two days later than normal due to the Nov. 8 municipal election.

Heidi Yaukey, a property owner, and her father, Glenn Dice, were present, having first brought their concerns to the board in 2009. They wanted the gate, owned by Lee Myers and Dean Myers to block unauthorized access to their farm field, to be moved closer to the residential section. Through the years people had used the area as a dumping ground, held parties, participated in unsavory activities, and at times shot off firearms. Citing safety issues, Yaukey and her husband William offered to pay to move the gate, install a turnaround, advertise and fund a public hearing, and most recently, agreed to let the public have access from their land to the Conococheague Creek for fishing and canoeing.

The agreement, submitted to Antrim earlier in the day by their attorney Paul Schemel, came at the request of the supervisors. The issue had been discussed at several meetings this fall and on Sept. 13 the board approved moving the gate, provided all affected residents supported it. Baer was not pleased that in November the matter still was not settled.

Thomas Steiger, representing the Myerses, said the farmers were willing to be helpful, but wanted the same power as Antrim - that if in the first five years they decided to develop their land, they could give the Yaukeys five days' notice, remove the gate, and reimburse them for their expenses.

Yaukey feared they would do so rather quickly. She wanted development stated on the agreement as the only reason they would terminate it. "Or we'd be back where we started."

Some tension permeated the room as both sides justified their positions. They produced documents that had been created over the last two years.

Dean Myers thought the problems at the end of Patton Bridge Road had been blown out of proportion, but Dice asked why they then had a gate?

Curtis Myers pointed out that if the field was developed, the problem would disappear, since traffic would increase and people wouldn't hang out doing illegal things.

Schemel arrived late and explained some points in the agreement that had been confusing. The board told both sides to keep trying to reach a compromise, and the issue would be settled at the Nov. 22 meeting.

Other business

The board authorized administrator Brad Graham to sign I-81 right-of-way acquisition plans at exit 3. Atapco vice president of development Pat Coggins said the clause on condemning land did not mean Antrim Township was compelled to do so, but if asked by Atapco, had one year to take that action after DEP signed the plans. The company was getting rights to small pieces of property to realign the entrance ramp to its business park. When asked if he would be successful in that task, he replied, "I have to." He added that the smallest piece of land they needed was proving to be the most difficult to get.

Raeven Cogan from Boy Scout Troop 10 was granted permission to install a flagpole with a solar light at Martin's Mill Bridge Park for his Eagle Scout project.

Graham will look into leasing the concession stand kitchen at Antrim Township Community Park to one operator to serve all users of the fields. That came as a recommendation from the Park Committee, which also wanted Antrim to receive a percent of the proceeds. The project would be bid.

The board agreed to let the United States Specialty Sports Association rent four of the five baseball fields in 2012. It requested 13 weekends between April and October. Lisko said tournaments could draw thousands of people.

The supervisors did not approve a revised Franklin County Area Tax Board fee schedule, because it wanted to increase certain assessments in order to meet its contracted goals for earned income tax collection costs. They also said no to the purchase of a $120,000 software system which would take 10 years to pay off, but FCATB only had a three-year contract.