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Franklin Board of Supervisors will lead the way for changes at dangerous intersection

06/26/2017 11:12AM ● Published by J. Chambless

The farm recently purchased by the Stoltzfus family is bisected by Appleton Road, and the family crosses the road several times a day from the home (on the right) to the barn.

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

At their monthly meeting on June 21, the Franklin Township Board of Supervisors heard concerns about an Amish farm on Appleton Road that is threatened by high-speed traffic passing between the farm's home and barn.

The property has been farmed for years, but the Amish family that is currently operating a dairy farm on the property is the focus of concern, particularly from neighbor and former supervisor Nan Latimer, who fears that the young family members, buggies and animals crossing the roadway will be struck by the heavy traffic on the road, which has become a commuter shortcut.

PennDOT owns both Appleton and the crossing Strickerville Road. Traffic on Strickerville Road has a stop sign in both directions, and warning signs that indicate traffic does not stop on Appleton. Neighbors, however, have reported several close calls because drivers on Strickerville assume the intersection is a four-way stop.

The township has unsuccessfully tried to get the intersection turned into a four-way stop several times. Recently, PennDOT representatives responded that there aren’t enough reportable accidents to warrant a four-way stop, and State Police officers have reported that the sight distance is adequate on the road.

During the supervisors meeting, seven township residents spoke to the board about the hazards at the intersection.

In response to the ongoing situation, board chairman John Auerbach announced that he has started a “Community Call to Action.” He plans to speak again to Rep. John Lawrence and Sen. Andy Dinniman; to set up an online petition to collect signatures in support of the four-way stop; possibly perform a traffic study independent of PennDOT; and use social media to spread the word about the online petition.

Township manager Joan McVaugh reported that she contacted PennDOT to see if Lancaster County or more remote counties have different criteria for four-way stops, and was informed that the rules are the same throughout the state. She also contacted municipalities in Lancaster County to see how they deal with traffic and the Amish community, and learned that officials post warning signs and horse-and-buggy signs, which are in place already on Appleton Road.

Latimer has purchased stop signs at her own expense, and is awaiting word on when, or if, PennDOT will install them.

Once established, the link to the online petition will be available on the township’s Facebook page and website (www.franklintownship.us).

Regarding the same property, the Brandywine Conservancy has contacted the township on behalf of the Stoltzfus family, which owns the farm, about the township contributing financial support to the purchase of an agricultural conservation easement on the 108-acre farm. Selling the development rights will preserve the land for farming, in perpetuity.

The board is in favor of the proposal, and their informal agreement allows for the Stoltzfus application to receive a higher rating and better chance of being selected out of the hundreds of applications that are submitted each year. The county allows the township to make interest-free payments over a five-year period. The open space loan is subsidized by the General Fund until 2040.

To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email jchambless@chestercounty.com.



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