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County may close part of Eylers Valley Road

James Rada, Jr.
Emmitsburg Dispatch

(2/15) A property owner on Eylers Valley Road wants to close a section of the road from Kelbaugh Road to Three Springs Road and a local resident organization is not happy with the possibility.

“It’s a beautiful country road and now he wants to cut off all traffic and have the property revert to him and one other property owner,” said Mary Gerstner, president of the Eylers Valley Citizen Association.

The Frederick County Commissioners have scheduled a public hearing on the issue for March 20. At that time, they will decide whether the gravel road should be taken out of the county’s rural roads program and the property beneath the road turned back to the property owners, which would, in essence, turn that stretch of road into a long driveway.

David Olney with the Frederick County Office of Transportation Engineering said that issue was raised when one of the property owners sent a letter the county government asking that the road be closed.

Four reasons were cited for the request: 1) The road has proven to be dangerous; 2) The environmental impact on the nearby stream would be great if the road were upgraded; 3) The property owners could potentially be held liable for accidents on that stretch of road; and 4) The closure only affects two property owners.

“It was discussed at the past four roads board meetings and they decided to support it,” Olney said. “The commissioners voted to take it to a public hearing. I haven’t heard anything negative about it.”

Gerstner said the community is just now becoming aware of the potential closure. She is gathering opponents to speak at the hearing.

“Two to three times in the past a President has fished there, but none recently,” Gerstner said. “If they are worried about the affect of road maintenance on the stream, then they should test it first.”

As for the concern that the stretch of road is dangerous, Olney said there has only been one reported accident there in the past five years.

“The problem is many, many minor accidents that never get recorded,” Olney said.
If the road is closed, travelers will have to use Kelbaugh, Black and Three Springs roads to circumvent the closed stretch of road.

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