Although Peters Township Council reversed its decision to acquire property for a street interconnection, actual construction seems to be anything but imminent.
By a 4-3 vote Monday, council approved an ordinance and declaration of taking for a small area of land owned by Jason and Sherri Snyder of Manor Way, for the purpose of providing a vehicular link between their long-established neighborhood and the new Juniper Woods residential development.
The measure had been rejected, 4-3, May 10. Robert Lewis changed his vote when it came before council a second time, and Frank Arcuri, Monica Merrell and Gary Stiegel Jr. continued their opposition.
Following the ordinance’s approval, Merrell motioned if the interconnection is built, “that a safety gate be installed to be used for emergency purposes only.”
The motion was defeated, with David Ball, James Berquist and Frank Kosir Jr. voting against it. Kosir, though, did not rule out the possibility of a safety gate.
“I want a study done on that, whether or not that is feasible. I’m not shutting the door on that,” he said. “Obviously, this is going to be in court for the next two or three years. That gives us plenty of time (for analysis).”
His reference primarily was to a statement made during Monday’s meeting by Kenneth Yarsky II, the attorney representing the Snyders, who are among the many residents of the Beacon Manor neighborhood expressing opposition toward an interconnection.
“This is going to go to litigation if this gets approved. I’ll guarantee it,” Yarsky said prior to the vote. “We’re going to fight, No. 1, the taking. No. 2, the ability to change the location of the right of way.”
The road is to cut across part of the Snyder property, with the declaration of taking calling for the township’s acquisition of .033 acres plus a temporary construction easement of .012 acres for the purpose of extending Manor Way. An appraisal determined the amount of “just compensation” to be $6,500, or $5 per square foot.
According to the declaration of taking, as filed with the Civil Division of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, the township claims “the power to condemn property for public purposes,” which in this case would be “better protection and safety to the traveling public.”
Connecting the two parts of Manor Way, the declaration states, “will provide another point of access and means of ingress and egress to nearby property owners; township police, firefighters, ambulances and other first responders; and other township employees performing snow removal, trash pickup and road maintenance.”
But a majority of residents of Manor Way and nearby streets – Beacon Way, Locust Drive and Franklin Drive – continue to argue an interconnection would compromise the safety of their neighborhood because of a corresponding increase in traffic.
At present, Locust provides the only vehicular access to what originally was recorded in 1954 as the Beacon Manor Plan of Lots. The street has one of the steepest grades in the township, and residents are concerned about motorists navigating it, especially in winter.