Road repaving raises questions of where boundary is between Harrison, Fawn
Some people on Echowood Drive still don’t know where they live. And the same could be said for those on Jolly Hill Road and Route 908.
All three roads cross the border of Fawn and Harrison townships, and officials still haven’t decided where the boundary between the townships lies. A meeting among officials from both townships to iron out the details hasn’t happened.
Fawn Solicitor Steve Yakopec said he contacted his Harrison counterpart, Emily Mueller, about a meeting of officials from each township to discuss the matter.
Yakopec said he was told that a meeting could not yet be scheduled because one of the Harrison commissioners who would be involved was not available.
“At some point we have to decide where this boundary line is,” Yakopec said.
Yakopec and Fawn Supervisor Dave Montanari brought up the boundary issue at the Aug. 27 Harrison commissioners meeting. Yakopec told Harrison officials there are three different potential boundaries based on maps from PennDOT, Allegheny County and the state.
He said the matter came to light when residents near the end of Echowood Drive called Harrison to complain about their part of the street not being repaved. Montanari said they were told to contact Fawn because that is where their houses are located.
Carolyn Mogle has lived on Echowood since 1979. She remembers when the residents there got together to get their formerly private road paved and adopted by Harrison. When it was recently resurfaced, they stopped at her mailbox, just before her driveway on the right side of the house. The paving also didn’t reach two other homes at the end of the dead-end street.
Mogle said she’s been told most of her property is in Harrison, though her garage is technically in Fawn. She pays property taxes to Harrison because she was told the taxes are based on the location of the bedroom, which is in Harrison.
Mogle said it would have been nice had the paving gone past her driveway to the property line, but “We’re glad they did what they did. It was really rough.”
According to Montanari and Yakopec, the boundary Harrison is recognizing appears to be farther east, toward Route 28.
If that new boundary is correct, it means Fawn will pick up nine residential properties, including some on other streets such as Jolly Hill and Route 908, all of which have been paying real estate taxes to Harrison for years, according to Montanari and Yakopec.
Montanari said the Echowood residents have their tax receipts proving that.
Figuring out where the border really is may require pulling Harrison’s original charter, which dates to 1901, Yakopec said.
“Harrison Township came out of Fawn. The charter should have a line,” he said. “It will probably take some time. These records are probably archived.”
Montanari said, if portions of those streets are now in Fawn, Fawn will not accept them as township roads for the purposes of maintenance.
“They were put up as private roads,” Yakopec said. “Because they were private roads, they did not meet the township specifications. This is why Fawn would not take them over.”
Yakopec said that likely won’t matter anyway since Harrison accepted them back in 1990 and as such is committed to maintaining them.
In addition to the taxes paid to Harrison and road maintenance, things such as sanitary sewer lines, water lines, garbage collection and liquid fuels taxes could potentially be disputed issues.
Staff writer Brian C. Rittmeyer contributed to this report. Tom Yerace is a freelance writer.