Source: Elizabeth Baumeister | Abington JournalA drive on Northern Spy Road, South Abington Township, Tuesday morning, Feb. 14, 2017.
S. ABINGTON TWP. — Abington Heights High School (AHHS) student Arjun Iyengar often walks to school from his family’s home in the nearby Apple Valley subdivision off of Gravel Pond Road. In the warmer seasons, he enjoys riding his bike in that same area. But the high school junior told township officials at the regular supervisors meeting Feb. 13 he feels it is becoming increasingly dangerous to do so.
“A few times I’ve crashed my bike on the road,” he said. “As I’m walking to school, there are a lot of cracks and potholes that I have to avoid and sometimes I’m forced onto people’s lawns, because cars have to swerve to avoid them and they get close to where I’m walking.”
Arjun was one of several residents of the development to address the board at Monday night’s meeting, after the group delivered a petition, calling for road repair in the development, specifically the paving of Northern Spy Road.
According to resident Dale Lindholm, owners of all 25 homes on that road signed the petition, excluding one house, which is currently up for sale.
“My vantage began in 1978, 39 years ago before Northern Spy Road was constituted, as our home was being built,” Lindholm said. “Move ahead to 29 years ago, the road was deeply trenched to embed the main sewer lines, which you remember about, and repair followed that.
“Since then, it’s only had patchwork – 29 years of it,” he added. “The surface has progressively deteriorated, worsening the breakup of the thin asphalt base. Potholes, fissures, widening and deepening ruts, depressions left by utility companies that didn’t finish after their cuts. It’s rough riding, even in my Avalon.”
Lindholm cited four negative effects of the road’s condition: a decrease of property values, safety issues, road weeds and bad water drainage. He said not only does the condition of the road mean more repairs for residents’ vehicles, it has also caused multiple people to fall and/or twist their ankles, including residents walking their dogs and AHHS cross country team members out running.
But according to the supervisors and township manager David O’Neill, the Apple Valley development is far from being the only area in need of work out of the 37 miles of roadway owned by the township. Another is the Meadow Creek community which, according to residents who visited the March 2016 supervisors meeting, hasn’t been paved in more than 26 years. Until recently, another on that list was Gravel Pond Road, for which the township acquired a large loan to rebuild – a loan that will cut into the roadwork portion of the budget for the next few years.
The problem, everyone agreed, is funding – there simply isn’t enough to go around.
The municipality has about $500,000 budgeted for roadwork in 2017.
“As yourselves, Meadow Creek development residents came here three straight years, and there were no promises made, but there may be a section of that that will be done this year with part of the half-million dollars,” O’Neill told the Apple Valley residents. “There’s then 36.7 miles of roadway left to put $250,000.”
He explained the process. “In March and April, we go out and we look at all 37 miles of roadway, as recommended by the residents, we do a study of what work each road may have necessary to be done.”
The supervisors thanked the residents for voicing their concerns, and promised to add Northern Spy to the list for consideration, but made no promises of action for this year.
In other business:
• Township resident Walter Kierzkowski addressed the board with a concern regarding signs recently placed on a property in the area of the Abington Executive Park, notifying residents in advance of a zoning hearing held on Feb. 1. The hearing was in regard to a variance requested by a developer in order to build townhouses on the land in question.
O’Neill said the hearing was advertised in advance in local newspapers, as is legally required, and residents who live within 100 feet of the property were also notified by letter. Kierzkowski said, although he does not reside within that radius, he feels his property is close enough to be affected and he regrets missing the hearing. He complained the signs are too small and placed too far off the roadway to be seen.
The supervisors apologized and agreed to consider how such signs may be made more visible in such circumstances in the future.
• The board voted unanimously to hire two new part-time police officers.
• Another unanimous vote was taken to set aside $1,500 for the Chinchilla Hose Company Scholarship Fund.
• Three resolutions were passed: Resolution 17-01, the appointment of an auditor for 2016; Resolution 17-02, an increase in the tax collector compensation, and Resolution 17-03, for retiree health plan reimbursement.
• The supervisors approved the budgeted purchase and outfitting of a Ford F550 maintenance vehicle.
The next regular meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, March 13 at the municipal office building, 104 Shady Lane Road.
Reach Elizabeth Baumeister at 570-704-3943 or on Twitter @AbingtonJournal.