G-A comprehensive plan gets final review

PAT FRIDGEN
The Comprehensive Plan hearing did not draw a big crowd.

Panelists outnumbered citizens at the Comprehensive Plan hearing on Feb. 7. Antrim Township hosted the event at Grace United Brethren in Christ Church, as required before the long-awaited plan can be adopted by the Antrim board of supervisors and Greencastle borough council.

Antrim was represented by John Alleman, Pat Heraty and Fred Young III. Greencastle representatives were Craig Myers, Wade Burkholder, Charlie Eckstine, James Farley, Frank Webster Jr., and Harry Foley. Antrim administrator Brad Graham, zoning officer Sylvia House, borough manager Kenneth Womack and mayor Robert Eberly were also in attendance to answer questions about the plan

"The public can be for it or give their concerns," explained Frank Chlebnikow, Senior Community Planner for Rettew Associates, which compiled the document based on information determined by the two municipalities. "The officials will consider the comments, whether to pursue or just recognize. If there is a major change, another public review will be necessary."

Neither board would take action that night, but would put the CP on the agenda at a regularly-scheduled meeting, as a resolution to adopt, he continued.

"Then it becomes the official, formal plan."

Chlebnikow had the document with him, a binder of over 200 pages. The most important sections, he stressed, dealt with future land use and transportation.

Work on the CP began in 2005, to replace a 1992 version. The public attended meetings in 2007 to give input. The plan was sidelined in 2008 when supervisors restructured Antrim's staff. In 2009 it was ready for review by Franklin County, but Antrim postponed adoption so it could make zoning changes to its ordinances. Last June the township, borough and school district signed off on the draft, believing it to be finished.

Public comment

Eleven people attended the hearing to listen and give their opinions on the Comprehensive Plan. Former supervisor Scott Diffenderfer served on the CP committee in 2006.

"I spent a whole year of my life on meetings for this," he said. "I want to see how it turns out. It's an important document."

Former Antrim Township Municipal Authority member Bob Coladonato was interested in the process that would be used to adopt zoning ordinances, particularly in posting affected properties. He knew it should be done, but feared it wouldn't be.

Current ATMA member Bob Schemmerling attended as a citizen, interested in what was going on. He also supported a joint police force.

Ben Thomas Jr. urged Antrim and Greencastle to preserve the unique downtown area, and to create a unified water system.

Chlebnikow summed up the value of the CP, which should be reviewed every 10 years, but also annually.

"The plan should be used on a daily basis. The purpose is guidance for officials. It's a living document. The last thing you want to do is put it on a shelf and blow dust off it."