During their August 22 meeting, the Allen Township Board of Supervisors approved phases 3, 4 and 5 of the proposed Willowbrook Farms subdivision plan. Plans propose 508 homes, including 256 apartments and 225 townhomes along West Bullshead and Willowbrook roads.

Rob Lewis from Kaplin Stewart appeared before the board to discuss the plans, which the board previously reviewed in July. During July’s meeting, supervisors asked developers to consider adding sidewalks to the south side of West Bullshead Road instead of a mid-block crosswalk connecting to the north side of the road. These sidewalks would connect to the Nor-Bath Trail at the intersection of Willowbrook and West Bullshead roads. However, Lewis explained that there is a “pinch point” due to flooding, meaning the sidewalk could only be 4 feet, instead of the required 5 feet. 

“If it is truly the Board’s preference to provide that extension of the sidewalk, it is physically possible, but not something that our team is recommending be installed,” said Lewis. 

Supervisors still voiced support for a sidewalk instead of a crosswalk on West Bullshead. 

“It’s better than a crosswalk,” said Supervisor Dale Hassler. 

Supervisor Gary Behler agreed. “[It] keeps [residents] off the road.”

Developers also reviewed the sanitary sewer design for the development. The main artery of the sewer plan will be owned by the township. However, the individual branches feeding into homes will be owned by the Homeowners’ Association. 

Finally, developers confirmed the streets in the development will be wide enough for fire rescue vehicles. 

Waivers included eliminating parking requirements along some curbs, removing center lines on two small streets, allowing sanitary sewer construction in the floodplain, removing sidewalks from several median islands, and eliminating the 5-foot-wide requirement for sidewalks along the southern part of West Bullshead Road. All waivers were approved by supervisors before they ultimately approved the preliminary plans. 

In other news, supervisors discussed safety concerns surrounding the East Bullshead Road trestle. Another tractor-trailer recently got stuck under the bridge, blocking the road and causing a headache for neighboring residents. 

Township Manager Ilene Eckhart and Hassler met with FedEx representatives to voice their concerns. Contracted drivers, high turnover and inconsistent GPS systems continue to be the primary cause of these traffic issues. 

Despite warning signs, trucks still turn down East Bullshead Road. Supervisors discussed possible physical impediments; however, road barriers that don’t meet PennDOT standards could open the township to liability. 

Supervisors also discussed a roundabout, which would allow drivers to turn around before reaching the bridge. However, engineer Stan Wojciechowski said a roundabout to fit a tractor-trailer would be very large and impede on county agricultural property. While raising the bridge would prevent crashes, supervisors worried that doing so would also encourage tractor-trailers to continue using the road. 

Wojciechowski said he could ask his engineering team to sketch up a possible alternative, a “modified pork chop” that would prevent turns. 

“Unfortunately, FedEx is here,” said Hassler. “There are some things you can’t fix with duct tape. And these drivers just go where they want to go and do what they want to do, and no matter what you do, they’ll drive through the cornfield to get past the road.”

A follow-up meeting with Eckhart, FedEx and the county is scheduled. 

The next Board of Supervisors meeting will be Tuesday, September 12 at 6 p.m.


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