Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners might build an expensive road to assure the safety of some town residents.
Since development of the Northgate subdivision began in the early 1990s, it has had only one entrance and exit — at Provincial Parkway and North Seton Avenue. The adjacent Emmit Ridge subdivision, now partially developed, also uses that intersection as its sole entrance.
The commissioners directed Town Manager David Haller to contact the Emmit Ridge property owner about a possible second entrance.
In 1990, Emmitsburg's mayor and its planning commission chairman approved the record plat, or plan, for the community, even though the entrance was within a 100-year floodplain.
The entrance is frequently flooded and sometimes iced over, said Commissioner William B. O'Neil Jr. at the Jan. 18 board meeting. Residents of Northgate and Emmit Ridge are concerned about whether emergency services have continuous access to the communities, he said.
Ambulances cannot always get into the development, Sabrina Paxton-Daily, president of the Northgate Homeowners Association, said at Monday's board meeting. The two developments have about 200 homes combined, she said.
It seems the town made an error approving the entrance, Ms. Paxton-Daily said.
"It's a situation that I think you are liable for if something happens," she said. "And it's just a matter of time before some-thing does happen."
Ms. Paxton-Daily urged the board to create a new entrance for the developments.
"I don't know if the town is truly liable for providing the road," responded board president Chris Staiger.
Even if the town wants to build the road, it will face some challenges. It would have to acquire land for the road.
In a Jan. 23 memo to the commissioners, Mr. Haller told them that the Emmit Ridge property on the west of Northgate, which includes Irishtown Road, appears not to be for sale.
Mr. Haller brought up the possibility of condemning the land to build a second entrance for Northgate at Irishtown road. If the town condemned the land, it might have to pay the owner between $1 million and $1.2 mil-lion, Mr. Haller wrote.
"Everyone who lives with us is worth a million dollars," Ms. Paxton-Daily said Monday.
Mr. O'Neil said he is willing to go as far as it takes to get the road built. He suggested the town could buy only a portion of the undeveloped Emmit Ridge property to build a road on.
However, after Monday's meeting, Mr. Haller said he believed the town may have to condemn the entire undeveloped part of Emmit Ridge to get access to the land.
Using eminent domain to condemn the land could take years, Mr. Staiger said.
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