Development proposed in the township

By on October 24, 2012

By: GARY KLINGER Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

A new development may be coming to Ephrata Township, which would mean an additional 11 new homes.

Developers for the Copperwood Lane development are proposing converting a four-acre tract of land along Akron road into 11 single family residential lots. The property is located close to the township building on what was known as the Gerhart Farm.

Jim Henke from Pioneer Management was present at the Tuesday evening meeting of Ephrata Township Supervisors to review sketch plans for the plot being developed by Mike Garman.

The lot is zoned low-density residential which would allow Garman to propose 10,000- square-foot or larger lots. Ten of the lots will be of approximately equal size. One lot will be somewhat larger but will also include a storm water containment basin, which the eventual owner would be responsible to maintain.

"Water from the development would drain into the containment basin for storm water and then be released into the tributary adjoining the property," explained Henke. "The development would be also be served by a culdesac and adhere to the 34′ wide road space with curbs and sidewalks on both sides."

Henke’s appearance was both a courtesy to supervisors and a matter of practicality. He wanted to share the plans and get any feedback from them before getting too far along in the final planning stages. He explained that he has already shared the plans with the township planning commission and the township engineer.

The developer did seek supervisor approval to go right to the final land development plan when they were ready.

There was considerable discussion regarding storm water management. The developer has proposed to replace the storm water pipe and storm water culvert on both sides of both sides of plan entrance to the development.

"Akron road is about 28′ wide, but as you approach the storm culvert that drains into the tributary under Akron Road, the road narrows a bit and it is not in the best condition," explained Henke.

Township officials were supportive of the idea of having the developer make the necessary improvements. It was pointed out that throughout the process and in conjunction with consultation with Rettew Associates it would be assured the proper size replacement pipe would be installed, whether that might be replacing it with the same size pipe or perhaps something larger. In either case, current township regulations and guidelines would be followed.

In order for the project to move forward, the developer asked for township help in obtaining proper construction easements for the work on the storm water culvert. Henke explained that he had already obtained the approval from three of the four property owners required but the fourth had thus far been closed to the idea.

Township manager Steve Sawyer pointed out that whether the township did the work as part of normal maintenance and road improvements or whether the developer did it as part of his plan, the easements and right of ways would be required just the same.

"I think it is reasonable to help obtain right away and easements," said Sawyer. They are replacing a pipe in a deteriorated condition. The road is about 3-4′ narrower at that point. It just makes sense to have a continuous 28′ run of Akron Road."

Supervisors granted a motion to grant a waiver for the developer to go right to final land development plan. The developer hopes to have the final plans in township hands within 30 days.

In his manager’s report, Sawyer reported on a situation regarding Charity Gardens. He said there had been concerns among residents regarding the storm water pipe due to the large number of sink holes that have occurred. A firm from New Jersey was hired by the township to use video technology to inspect the pipes and then air test each seam to assure no leaks. Any leaks which would be found would then be filled with a resin and retested.

"As part of the project, they ran a camera through the pipes and discovered six areas where the pipe was damaged, likely through the construction process," explained Sawyer. "Some of the storm water pipe runs between homes and easily could have been damaged by equipment digging basements. We have sent letter to developer that even though they were installed 8 or 9 years ago the township was taking the position with Gene Martin that they are responsible to make the repairs."

Sawyer explained that Martin had authorized Hurst Excavation to come out and make the necessary repairs and that Rettew Associates had drawn up maps of each of the damaged pipes. Once the repairs have been completed, the township will again have Video Pipe Services come back to review and retest the integrity of the storm water system.

And at Sawyer’s recommendation Supervisors passed a motion to approve a zoning amendment regarding the mixed use district. Currently, residential properties can be converted to commercial used it they are in excess of one acres. Under the passed amendment, current residential properties in the mixed use zone could be converted to commercial so long as they can also meet the proper storm water and parking requirements for a commercial property.

"This would allow some minimal commercial development in that part of town with parking requirements and storm water requirements met," explained Sawyer. "This would be ideal for perhaps a small professional office or something not generating much parking demand. Such a proposed business would still have to meet all the other criteria of the ordinance, including requirement that it must be set back so far from adjoining residential properties.

For additional information on Ephrata Township, visit ephratatownship.org. Gary P. Klinger welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail at klingerglobal@gmail.com. More TOWNSHIP, page A6

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