Although a waiver for the sidewalks for the Packerton Yards project was denied by Mahoning Township supervisors on a 4-1 vote, the board approved the other two pending waivers as well as two-thirds of the failed waiver.
Supervisor Travis Steigerwalt was the lone member to want to approve the sidewalk waiver out of concern for the possible delays and complications it could create with the railroad crossing over which this sidewalk will have to be constructed.
"I have concerns with the railroad company [approving this]," Steigerwalt said regarding his vote against denying the waiver.
At one point in the conversation about the sidewalks, the supervisors were discussing requiring sidewalks up to but not crossing the railroad.
"Will the railroad have issue with this?" asked Steigerwalt.
Supervisor Franklin Ruch answered Steigerwalt.
"We are requiring them up to the tracks but not over them. I don't think we have jurisdiction to place them over the tracks."
Steigerwalt responded by saying he didn't understand why the board would require sidewalks up to the tracks but not crossing them although Chairperson John Wieczorek mentioned there would be a barrier there.
"Our ordinance requires a 40-foot cartway in non-residential zones with five-foot wide sidewalks," pointed out Supervisor Bruce Steigerwalt. "The planning commission said it would accept a gravel walkway the length of the road from Route 209 to the end, which was option three presented to us."
Although the supervisors denied the waiver for the sidewalks the discussion after the vote continued regarding different possible options for meeting the township's requirements. County Engineer Ron Tirpak asked for clarification as to what they agreed.
Wieczorek said the waiver was denied and they would be free to appeal the decision and work out a compromise.
Steigerwalt said he was reviewing the notes and letters and stated he found a meeting on Aug. 10, there was a meeting with county officials and PennDOT in which the state requested a study for pedestrian traffic and he asked if it was completed.
Tirpak said it was and Steigerwalt responded, saying the township never saw the study and felt that it should have.
Supervisor Linda Benner mentioned at the end of the approvals that she finds it hard to believe at this point the sidewalks would hold the commissioners back from continuing to work on the property.
The other waivers were approved unanimously with little discussion, including one that waived the center line grade percentage, approving it at 0.3 percent. A second waiver was approved but it was subject to the approval of the highway occupancy permit and seven other requirements provided by the township engineer, including upgrading shoulders, road painting, widening the road at the railroad crossing, relocating poles and reducing speed to 25 MPH in that area.
The sidewalk waiver, which was denied also had two sections that were approved. The supervisors unanimously granted waivers to reduce the cartway to 24 feet with six-foot shoulders covered with bituminous material and to eliminate curbing.
Wieczorek said by his estimate, since the project has started, the township has granted 10 or 11 waivers in the course of the project so far.