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Council gives tentative OK to weight limits to prohibit large trucks on three borough streets

Dan Miller, danmiller@pressandjournal.com
Posted 7/5/17

Establishing weight limits to ban large trucks from three Middletown streets near Penn State Harrisburg was given tentative approval by Middletown Borough Council during its July 5 …

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Council gives tentative OK to weight limits to prohibit large trucks on three borough streets

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Establishing weight limits to ban large trucks from three Middletown streets near Penn State Harrisburg was given tentative approval by Middletown Borough Council during its July 5 meeting.

Council voted 5-0 to approve advertising a proposed ordinance that would set vehicle weight limits on Wharton, Grandview and West Roosevelt avenues.

Council will need to approve the measure a second time at a future public meeting after the ordinance has been advertised in order for the weight limits to be put in place and be enforced.

The borough in recent months has received complaints from residents living on the streets about large trucks and tractor-trailers using the streets to get to the warehouse complex that is adjacent to the Penn State Harrisburg campus.

The trucks are heading south on North Union Street and are supposed to be turning right on Industrial Lane, which leads to the warehouse complex, borough officials have said.

The borough recently installed a sign at Industrial Lane in an attempt to get the truck drivers to turn on that street, instead of using the residential streets.

But the borough continues to receive complaints from residents of the three streets about large trucks, Borough Manager Ken Klinepeter told council.

The sign at Industrial Lane is not visible enough to the truck drivers, said Mayor James H. Curry III. The sign is placed in such a way that by the time the truck drivers cross the bridge going over the Pennsylvania Turnpike, it is too late for them to see the sign directing them to turn right onto Industrial Lane, Curry said.

Borough Public Works Director Greg Wilsbach is looking into making the sign more visible, said Solicitor Adam Santucci. Wilsbach was not at the meeting.

Borough officials did not specify what the weight limits will be. However, the limits will be sufficient to “prohibit large truck traffic on these streets,” Klinepeter said.

The borough needs an ordinance so that signs announcing the weight limits can be placed on the streets. Once the ordinance is passed and the signs are up, borough police can start enforcing the weight limits.

Penn State Harrisburg officials have also complained to the borough about the truck traffic, because the residential streets lead the trucks to going through the campus to reach the warehouse complex.

Council should also consider increasing the current fine for trucks that exceed the weight limit, suggested Councilor Diana McGlone.

Santucci said he believed the fine is now $100, but when court costs are added in the total is closer to $270.

Woodland Hills' site preparation work approved

Council also voted 5-0 to approve an agreement with H-T Partners, owners of the proposed Woodland Hills development, to cover site preparation work related to phase one of the development.

Located north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike between North Union and Vine streets, the 168-acre Woodland Hills tract is the largest undeveloped residential area in the borough.

H-T Partners has a conceptual plan that proposes building 440 housing units over 10 phases; including 150 apartments, 125 townhouses, 119 single-family detached homes and 46 semi-detached homes.

Phase one is the only phase to receive final plan approval from council. The nine other phases have received preliminary plan approval.

Phase one plans call for building 150 apartment units on the North Union side of the development, near what is now the entrance to the Middletown Swim Club. Phase one would also include four model homes.

Phases two through 10 would be developed gradually west to east toward the side near Vine Street.

Construction of the apartments and homes is to be done by a developer not yet been identified by H-T Partners.

H-T Partners is negotiating with two developers, one to build the apartments and another to build the homes, Thomas Kile of H-T Partners told the Press & Journal after the meeting. The developers have asked not to be identified at this stage of the negotiations, Kile said.

Lloyd appointed to Human Relations Commission

Council in other action also appointed a borough resident, Angela Lloyd of Oak Hill Drive, to a three-year term to expire at the end of December 2020 on the recently revived Human Relations Commission.

Lloyd’s appointment means the commission has three of the five members it is supposed to have under a borough ordinance. The first three members were nominated by Curry and approved by council.

The three members are now to find two other borough residents to fill out the commission, subject to these people also being approved by council.

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