Spring Meadow residents seek third access point to neighborhood

Supervisors remind residents to get building permits before starting projects

By Kris Firey-Poling, Correspondent, The Times


Birmingham’s Board of Supervisors addressed a number of resident issues Monday, including access into the Spring Meadows neighborhood and building permit issues.

BIRMINGHAM — Requests from township residents dominated Monday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

Robert Schwan, representing Spring Meadow, requested a third access to the neighborhood.  Currently, Spring Meadow has two access points onto Route 926.

“The traffic on 926 gets backed up and homeowners cannot get out. When it’s not backed up, cars on 926 are speeding.  We are especially concerned about emergency situations.  A third entrance would alleviate the possibility of a back-up if emergency vehicles have to get in,” said Schwan.

Schwan presented a map, explaining that 35 years ago, there was an access road off of Sherbrook Drive into Radley Run.  Spring Meadows’ Homeowners Association (HOA) would like this area maintained as an access. It is currently overgrown.

Supervisors Vice-Chairman William Kirkpatrick said, “I have looked at this space. That access is a pretty tight run between those houses.  What have the homeowners said about your idea?”

Schwan stated that he hasn’t asked the neighbors, but insisted that this right of way exists, and should be maintained.

Supervisors Chairman John Conklin did not believe the idea was compelling for emergency access, as creating a road for firetrucks would be cost prohibitive.

Resident Harry Miller said that Radley Run’s HOA would not want this access going through their property.

Kirkpatrick, acting as mediator, said, “If there is a legal right of way in Spring Meadows and Radley Run, the HOA cannot restrict it. The township will decide how it is used.”

The supervisors agreed to do a legal search of the property. If it is a legal right of way, there will be an obligation to keep it clear of trees and shrubs.

In other agenda items, the supervisors discussed the Bruni resident’s request to forego a building permit penalty. According to Secretary/Treasurer Quina Nelling, Bruni began work on his deck without a permit.

“The resident said he was just replacing a few boards. I later found out it was a $15,000 deck job that was outside the code,” said Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick explained that residents must pay a double permit fee if they are found without a permit.  Since enacting this penalty, the township has seen an increase in residents seeking permits.

“There are three reasons for building permits – homeowner safety, value of the structure, and emergency responder safety,” said Kirkpatrick.

Conklin found the fee to be fair and justified, and would not produce a hardship.  He said that everyone in the township is treated the same.

The supervisors denied Bruni’s request and expect full payment.

Also, resident Miller stated his concern about some unfilled potholes.  He related a story of how he called the police after seeing a vehicle blow a tire after driving over a pothole.

Joe Mobile, a Birmingham resident attending on behalf of Pennsylvania Representative Dan Truitt, said that PennDOT (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation) has hired emergency sub-contractors to expedite the pothole situation.  He encouraged residents to call PennDOT’s new number, 484-340-3201, to report specific location problems.

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