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West Donegal OKs Enforcement Notice for Timber Villa Gate

West Donegal Township supervisors unanimously approved an enforcement notice telling the Timber Villa retirement community to keep a gate closed so it will not be used to create through traffic on what had been a dead-end street.

Residents of the 200 block of Poplar Lane had complained to township supervisors last year that the opening of the long-closed gate had caused a major increase in traffic on their block with many vehicles disregarding speed limits. Township officials said in November that a 1995 zoning board decision limiting the access road to emergency use only could be enforced.

Township Manager John Yoder told supervisors at their meeting on Monday, Feb. 12, that a notice had been sent to Timber Villa telling the retirement community to keep the gate closed, but it has not always been kept closed.

“I’ve heard accounts that it got zip-tied shut, then somebody cut the zip ties so they could use the gate,” Yoder said.

Yoder said the gate had been closed the day of the as well as the previous day, but he would like the supervisors’ permission to send an enforcement notice right away if it is left open in the future. They agreed to do so.

In other business, supervisors unanimously approved waivers sought by developers of the Stoneybrook development. The waivers included a request that street trees be planted outside the right of way for streets. Brian Cooley of the engineering firm D.C. Gohn Associates said putting trees between the sidewalk and the curb can cause problems with roots growing into underground utility lines; also, he said roots often get under sidewalks, causing them to buckle up, something he sees often in Lancaster City, where he lives.

In another matter, former township Supervisor Ralph Horne returned to the board with a repeated complaint about a home along Turnpike Road that he said has a yard kept in deplorable condition. He also brought up a new complaint about a home on Newville Road where he said non-functioning vehicles are left in public view. Wayne Miller, the township’s zoning and code enforcement officer, said he would take photos of the Turnpike Road property and would check out the situation on Newville Road. Miller said nonfunctioning vehicles are supposed to be kept in garages.

Also, township resident Dan Brill sought and received an apology from the township for not informing him that he had not been reappointed to the board of the Elizabethtown Regional Sewer Authority. Brill said he showed up to a board meeting and was surprised to learn that he was no longer on the board. Yoder apologized to Brill, saying he had meant to contact him but misplaced a note reminding him to do so during the transition period in which he took over the township manager’s job from Gene Oldham, who retired. Supervisor Philip Dunn also apologized to Brill, saying he is the supervisor in charge of administration and he also should have been sure Brill was notified.

Supervisors also heard a presentation from auditor Phil Rudy of White, Rudy & Co. about the township’s financial statement for 2017. Rudy noted that the township’s general fund had grown by about $300,000 in 2017, mostly because of unpredictable revenue sources such as building permits and real estate transfer fees. He also commended the township staff on its excellent bookkeeping.

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