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Linglestown Gazette: B² editorial: Citizen activism pays off big time

Monday, October 20, 2008

B² editorial: Citizen activism pays off big time

I’ve been impressed with the interaction of township officials, a housing developer and citizens in dealing with a controversial plan called the Estates of Autumn Oaks, a 91-unit luxury housing community on the slopes of Blue Mountain.

The development proposed by McNaughton Homes was nearly signed, sealed and delivered in early August. But last-minute appeals by residents of Centennial Acres, the development that borders the Estates of Autumn Oaks, convinced a majority of Lower Paxton Twp. supervisors to delay approving the plan even though the township’s engineering firm said that it met or exceeded all regulations. The residents objected to the location of storm water facilities and feared the new development would worsen existing flooding problems.

Fast-forward to mid-October and a resolution to the citizens’ concerns appears to be in the works. The revised plan, which probably will be tweaked a bit more based on citizens’ comments offered last week, appears to be much improved over the one that was nearly enacted a couple months ago – a pair of storm water detention ponds will be pushed back from the property line of Centennial Acres, and the design of the ponds has been changed to prevent water from seeping into ground. I expect the supervisors to approve the plan during their meeting on Monday, Nov. 3.

Gazette kudos go out to …

– McNaughton Homes for their willingness to meet with citizens and to act on their suggestions.

– Lower Paxton Twp. Board of Supervisors chairman Bill Hawk for working with all parties involved in the dispute.

– Citizen watchdog group SWAN chairman Eric Epstein for assisting with negotiations and retaining an engineer to review the development plan.

– Centennial Acres residents who took the time to school themselves on the technical issues in play instead of merely crying the blues.

The moral of this story: The key to good government is a vigilant citizenry.

Be vigilant by attending local meetings:

Tonight ... SWAN citizen watchdog group meeting, Epiphany Lutheran Church, 7:30 pm. The meeting agenda includes a discussion of the Estates of Autumn Oaks, and Bill Hawk, chairman of the Lower Paxton Twp. Board of Supervisors will be attending.

Tuesday, Oct. 21 ... Lower Paxton Twp. board of supervisors meeting, Municipal Center, 425 Prince Street, 7 pm – meeting will be televised on Comcast cable channel 20. (meeting agenda)

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At 4:26 PM, Blogger XSweetkisez1 said...

I live in Centennial Acres well off patton rd where the old barn use to be and right by the moutains and nobody wants them to build that 91 home space we all love it back here and at the township meeting everyone was trying to stop him but of course we can't.But as for the pond building they need to stop all that it's nonsense and they have had a sign for them to build for several years why now!!

At 4:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also live in Centennial Acres and nobody wants the development to be built. This would tear down plenty of the beautiful scenery and add busy traffic to what otherwise is a quiet and peaceful neighborhood. We are definitely not pleased or happy even with retention ponds, which are not the most beautiful things to look at.


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