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Land Swap in Washington Township
Written by Mary Gibbs Kershner
2023-03-29

            The Washington Township board of supervisors agreed on Thursday night to permit Solicitor Joan London to petition the Berks County Court of Common Pleas to remove a deed restriction from a 1.5-acre parcel the township owns on Barto Road.

            The township acquired the land from a developer years ago.  The deed restriction prevented the parcel from any use other than municipal use such as a firehouse.  The deed restriction must be removed so that an exchange can occur between the township's 1.5 acres and 26.3 acres owned by Prestige Properties Partners. 

Prestige Properties Partners is the developer of the proposed Edison Walk subdivision.  The 26.3 acres the township will acquire through the exchange are located along Hoffmansville Road.  The donation to the township will meet part of the Edison Walk subdivision open space requirement.  The tract is close to another parcel the township owns near the Bally Springs development.

            As part of a legal settlement mandated by the Berks County Court of Common Pleas between Washington Township and developer Richard Mingey, the large tracts of land owned by Mingey were required to file land development plans with the township by April 5th.  A parcel of land on Barto Road acquired by Prestige Properties Partners and formerly owned by Mingey was given an extension by the supervisors to file development plans.

            Additionally, land previously owned by Mingey along Kutztown Road, but purchased by Piers Keating, received an extension.  Mingey's property located at 1606 Main St. in Washington Township was given a 60-day extension from April 5th. 

The supervisors agreed to issue a conditional permit of occupancy with a few restrictions for Keating's gathering barn.  The permit for the gathering barn is for a personal office, gym, and various household uses.  Use of the gathering barn must be for no more than 30 guests with no overnight visitors at the barn. 

When Keating's guest barn is completed, the gathering barn must be connected to the guest barn's septic system or connected to public sewer.

            In an ongoing matter, the supervisors agreed to place four speed warning strips along both sides of County Line Road.  The speed strips will note the speed limit is 35 mph.  Speed limit strips are thermoplastic that is applied with heat to the road surface.  The supervisors hope the speed strips will act as a deterrent to curb excessive speeding along the road.  The cost of the four speed strips is $1,600.

            In other road news, Township Engineer John Weber, LTL Consultants, noted that plans for straightening Barto Road are progressing.  However, there is an unidentified cable near the planned road straightening and the township does not know the owner of the cable.

The full-depth reclamation (FDR) of Wilt and Washington Roads is expected to begin in mid-April.

            The township announced almost 80% of the dead ash tree removal along township roadways has been completed by Merkel Tree Service and Dallas Tree Service.  The estimated cost to remove all the dangerous trees was approximately $120,000.

            Recently, the Eastern Berks Fire Company requested the township consider enacting an ordinance that requires Knox Boxes in commercial properties with alarm systems.  The supervisors are researching sample ordinances in several municipalities before they make a decision.  A Knox Box is a rapid access system that enables a fire company or emergency personnel to enter a property in an emergency.  A Knox Box is positioned near an entranceway to a building.  The box holds the keys to the building.  The emergency services can use a master key to open the Knox Box.  Use of a Knox Box prevents damage to a building that otherwise would occur when emergency personnel need to enter the building quickly.

            Washington Township applied for a $48,000 grant that requires 50% matching funds of $24,000.  The grant application was submitted through the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation.  If approved, the grant would be used to make improvements to Washington Park.  The township will purchase pole guards for the basketball court at a cost not to exceed $1,000.

            Vice Chairman Dave Moyer reminded residents to spend some time with their families over the Easter Holiday.  Moyer suggested parents take their children to the many Easter Egg Hunts in the area.  He wished all residents of Washington Township a very "Happy Easter."

            The next Washington Township Board of Supervisors meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 27 at 7 p.m.


 

 

 

 

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