defers acceptance of
private roads in Pembrook
As winter approaches, some residents of Pembrook Woods in Emmitsburg asked
the Town of Emmitsburg this week to assume responsibility for plowing the
The roads are currently owned and maintained by developer Buckeye
Development as private roads.
Once the town accepts the roads, all maintenance including snow plowing
will become the responsibility of the town.
Emmitsburg officials decided to leave the roads in the hands of the
developer at least until a full inspection could be made by a licensed
Town planner Mike Lucas said that though he is not an engineer, the roads in
sections two and three of the development located at the west end of town,
appeared to be satisfactory, but the roads in section one have had troubles.
Each time problems were reported, Buckeye Development which still has
control and responsibility for the roads - came to repair them, he said.
A few Emmitsburg residents, including town Commission President Bill O'Neil,
said they thought the Town of Emmitsburg should plow the roads regardless of
whether they had been accepted by the town. Lucas said the town has been
advised by its attorney not to do so until after the roads have been legally
In an Oct. 28 letter to Lucas, town attorney John Clapp of Clapp and Carper
LLC in Frederick, wrote that issuing traffic or parking citations on the roads
could be considered acceptance of the dedication of the roads to the town.
Lucas said that same principle might also apply if the town undertakes any
responsibility to maintain the roads, such as plowing.
Town manager Dave Haller was also concerned that any damage done to the
roads by plowing would make the town liable for repairs.
Pembrook Woods resident and Planning Commission Chair Chris Staiger said he
believed the staff's decision not to plow the streets was a "bogus excuse,"
particularly because the town plowed the roads two years ago.
Haller said that case was an extreme situation. If another emergency arose,
he said, he would likely plow the roads again. He did not think a decision to
plow the roads regularly was within his authority, however.