Franklin supervisors approve module for residential development

February 11, 2013

WAYNESBURG – Franklin Township supervisors approved a sewage planning module Monday for a 33-lot residential development off Powell Lane.

Kirby Development LLC plans to build the Castle Oaks residential development on a 17-acre parcel of land in an area located across Route 21 from the east entrance to the county fairgrounds.

The same property had been considered for a 50-home, single-family development for low- and moderate-income residents two years ago by Woda Group LLC.

Woda eventually dropped its plans after facing stiff opposition from neighboring property owners concerned about the potential for decreased property values and increased crime because of the low-income nature of the development.

Kirby Development’s proposed development will be “top quality” and will not be for low-income residents, said Steve Coss, township code enforcement officer. He said homes that will be built there will be similar to those in the Colonial Plan.

Access to the development will come from Powell Lane and East Oakview Drive, Coss said. Of the 33 lots, 12 will contain two single-family homes and be part of a homeowners association, under which the home will be owned by the occupant and the property will be owned and maintained by the association.

The remaining 11 lots will be sold individually, Coss said. The total number of houses that could be built at the site is 35.

The supervisors approved a resolution accepting the development’s sewage module, which now must be approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The Franklin Township Planning Commission will review the plan at a meeting at 6 p.m. Feb. 19. The developer hopes to begin work on the project this spring, Coss said.

In other business, Jeff Marshall, chief of the Waynesburg-Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Company and Ron Fox, fire company president, asked the supervisors for some of the excess money the township has in its fire fund for the purchase of a new 2013 Sutphen rescue pumper.

The new truck will replace a 1995 truck now operating from the Franklin Township substation. The trucks should be replaced every 20 years.

Fox said the company, however, wants to replace the one truck a little early to better space the times when it needs to replace its vehicles. It has become too expensive to replace trucks each year, he said. He noted the company also considered the costs in selecting a new truck and didn’t pick the top model, but what it selected will do the job required of it.

The new truck will cost $417,000. The fire company has already borrowed $150,000 from the state in the form of a low-interest loan and received $80,000 for the sale of the old truck.

The township levies a 1.28 mill property tax of which 0.35 of a mill is designated for fire protection. The township provides a quarterly payment to the company from the proceeds but also keeps part of the money in a fire fund. The fund now has about $108,000.

The supervisors thanked the fire company for its services. Supervisor Reed Kiger said the township will make a contribution and will discuss the matter before deciding on an amount.

The supervisors approved a motion to seek bids for demolishing a house, barn and partial cellar on property that has been condemned at 111 Dulaney Lane, off Sugar Run Road.

Coss said neighbors have complained about the property and the owner, a mortgage company, has done nothing to correct the problems there.

Coss also reported he will begin condemnation proceedings against the former Oak Ridge trailer park on Bonar Avenue. Four or five vacant mobile homes remain at the site and many of them have been vandalized, he said.

Bob Niedbala worked as a general assignment reporter for the newspaper for 27 years in the Greene County bureau. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh.

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