Chestnut and Timber Oak courts

A goal of Peters Township’s Roadway Interconnection Policy is to ensure that situations such as Chestnut Court not connecting with Timber Oak Court are avoided going forward.

Courtesy of Google Maps

A new Peters Township policy codifies procedures for attempting to ensure adequate access to residential developments.

Township council voted 5-2 Monday in favor of the Roadway Interconnection Policy, with Monica Merrell and Gary Stiegel Jr. opposing.

Ryan Jeroski, assistant township manager, said the document is based on what is contained in the municipal subdivision and land development ordinance, along with the current comprehensive plan, which outlines the merits of interconnecting streets.

“That’s how the township staff has adopted our procedure in terms of how we deal with residential developers coming forward,” he said.

A major consideration is public safety, including response times for emergency personnel and snow removal by the public works department.

“Where deemed possible by the township engineer, all preliminary plans for residential developments shall, at a minimum, provide for two means of vehicular ingress and egress,” the new policy states.

Township planning director Ed Zuk addressed another aspect.

“It’s for overall traffic circulation,” he said. “As we continue to grow, the more these neighborhoods connect, the less congestion we’ll have.”

The policy calls for existing cul-de-sacs to be extended when possible, although residents of those types of streets often object to that eventuality.

“I understand the public safety aspect of it, but people buy these lots. They know going into it that it’s a cul-de-sac. They should be well aware that there’s only one way in, one way out,” Stiegel said. “I’m not sure why we’re pushing it so much.”

Jeroski said residents maintain “an expectation of public service, even on those streets.”

And as these connections are not made,” he added, “it becomes a less and less realistic expectation that we can meet.”

Although the policy calls for at least a pair of access points to residential plans, in some cases the connections depend on what occurs on neighboring land in the future.

Merrell said both means of ingress and egress be established at the onset.

“They should do it then, not rely on eventually something developing behind it, beside it, above it,” she said.

Among other items listed in the policy are:

  • The township planning department is to seek input from the police department, fire department, public works department, ambulance service and Peters Township School District when considering the potential interconnection of streets in proposed plans;
  • The configuration of proposed residential plans should accommodate the elimination of dead-end streets, particularly those exceeding 600 feet;
  • Dead-end streets are permitted only in situations where there are no driveways from homes connected to the proposed street, for which snow removal will not be provided.

The policy also calls for the township to “strive to provide notice to current and prospective property owners” about the possibility of future street extensions, such placing notes on preliminary and final plans, posting signs at the end of temporary cul-de-sacs and including the information in lien letters.

“At the end of the day, if we put it in front of them, at least we tried to help them understand,” Merrell said.

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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