During their July 25 meeting, the Allen Township Board of Supervisors heard from the project managers behind the proposed Willowbrook Farms subdivision plan. Among the agenda for discussion were sewer updates and fire safety access. The preliminary plan was approved by the township’s planning commission, but supervisors were not required to make any decision during their meeting. Instead, the presentation from the project management team was part of a larger exploratory conversation.
This plan accounts for six parcels on the site of the former farm. The largest is owned by the Fuller Family Trust and the remaining five by Equus Development. Equus will develop townhomes on three parcels. The two remaining parcels will likely be sold by the developer or rented.
The development will include an HOA that owns all internal sewer lines. However, project managers asked the township to take ownership of the main sewer line and interceptor. This is necessary for EPA approval but is something supervisors will explore with their engineer. Supervisors were concerned that blockages in the internal lines could damage township-owned lines.
Supervisors also expressed concern over the road widths in the development. Supervisor Dale Hassler, the township’s fire chief, said the roads are too narrow.
“You just want to get more homes [in]…If something happens, it happens,” he said, lamenting developers who build as many homes as possible without concern for fire safety.
To help aid fire access, developers said they would increase turn radii within the development. They also said they would add more hydrants.
Speeding on West Bullshead Road was also discussed. Developers were tasked with implementing trafficking calming measures into their plans. These measures included five raised crosswalks across the road and a center median. Developers said this will make the road feel more constricted and slow traffic.
However, supervisors expressed concerns over the safety of the crosswalks. Hassler said adding sidewalks along the road and forcing pedestrians to cross at stoplights would be safer. Supervisor Gary Behler agreed.
Developers will take these comments and concerns to their team for further discussion.
In other news, supervisors discussed the walking path trestle stretching across East Bullshead Road. Numerous FedEx tractor-trailers have hit this trestle or have gotten stuck beneath it. Trucks are not allowed on this road; however, most drivers, said Solicitor Lincoln Treadwell, are contractors who use their own GPS systems.
Supervisors discussed several options, including removing the country-owned, 12-foot-high trestle and adding a crosswalk, or increasing its height.
Behler was against removing the trestle for safety and principle reasons.
“Why should walkers pay for the trucks’ faults?” he asked.
Township Manager Ilene Eckhart and Engineer Stan Wojciechowski suggested adding a “pork chop” (raised island) at the intersection of Willowbrook and East Bullshead Road to prevent trucks from turning. However, supervisors worried trucks would either try to back up on Willowbrook Road and cause traffic hazards or enter East Bullshead anyway, ignoring the “pork chop” and hitting the trestle regardless.
For Hassler, he said the best option is to keep alerting the county to these issues to alleviate any liability the township may face in the case of a deadly accident, something Hassler said is a matter of when, not if. With enough pressure, the county may act.
The next Board of Supervisors meeting will be Tuesday, August 8 at 6 p.m.