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Donegal Township suspends Ridge Road project

| Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

After applying for a state Community Development Block Grant in June, the Donegal township supervisors have received approximately $43,000 to be used on an improved drainage system along Ridge Road.

However, the township's board of supervisors must suspend the Ridge Road project due to an environmental study that includes analysis of endangered species survey to be conducted by the Department of Environmental Protection.

“We were hoping that the project would have been done by now,” said supervisor Tom Stull. “But we are waiting for the study and are not sure when it will be done.”

As a result of the Ridge Road construction halt, during the public comment session of the meeting, local residents complained about large amounts of rain water running off the road and washing gravel onto their driveways.

“I had to spend the whole 4th of July morning sweeping gravel off my driveway,” Tim Bureau said. “And by 6 p.m., it was all washed back.”

In the meantime, the supervisors agreed on unclogging some the drainage pipes until the survey is completed.

And when asked what if endangered life is found on Ridge Road, Stull responded: “The DEP may choose to terminate the project, or we would have to move the endangered life somewhere else.”

In new business, the board passed a motion to approve an ordinance, which amends a previous section of an existing ordinance, that states a permit shall not be required for minor repairs to existing buildings or structures, or for buildings having a square footage of less than 144 square-feet, which are not in an identifiable floodplain area.

“We were just amending the ordinance to be in line with the county rule,” Stull said.

Other new business consisted of amending the 2013 budget to include the Act 13 Impact Fee distribution of $69,067.48.

The fee covers any damage related to the Marcellus shale natural gas extraction process, according to supervisor Dan Pribisco.

“The money will be used for road reconstruction and the reconstruction equipment and materials,” Stull said.

In other business, the supervisors discussed the case of resident Jason Yohman, who failed to get a building permit for a new garage on his property and to clarify his 911 address due to him using a neighbor's address.

The members agreed that a letter will be sent to his house and that he will have to clarify his 911 address and apply for the proper building permit.

As for other public concerns, a township resident Jackie Brown was denied a 10-acre property exemption sought in order to acquire septic tank permit due to what she called a “wet spot” on their property.

“The DEP claims its a spring,” said the concerned resident, “but its not, its a small wet spot.”

The supervisors agreed that this issue is one that can only be raised to the DEP because they make the septic tank regulations.

Stull explained that although the wet spot may be small, according to the DEP regulation, it is still considered a spring and therefore a special septic system, known as a sand-mound system, will have to be installed.

“The sand-mound is a complex system with a lot more work involved,” Stull said. “It also costs double the amount of a traditional septic.”

Andrew Hesner is a freelance writer.