COUNTY—In presenting the 2018 Planning Commission Report to the Wayne County Commissioners, Planning Director Craig Rickard noted 2018 was the third year in a row to see a steady increase in the number of new lots created within the county.

In total, 90 new lots were created in Wayne County, an increase of 22 over the total for 2017 and around 40 more than were made in 2015, the year with the lowest number of new lots in the last decade.

Damascus Township had the largest amount of new lots made (14) followed closely by Mount Pleasant Township (13).

Berlin and Clinton Townships are tied for third most with eight new lots made each.

In total, there were eight municipalities with no new lot creations in 2018.

There were a total of 133 municipal applications filed in 2018.

In addition to the 90 new lots made, there were also 120 new additions and 10 land developments approved, four more than in 2017.

According to the report, 2018 marks the tenth year in a row the number of additions has surpassed the number of newly created lots.

“The only year where you had more new lots than applications was in 2003, where you had over 250 new lots,” said Rickard.

The report also notes that typically, the number of newly created lots is always less than the number of applications, due in part to the fact that, “a large percentage of subdivision applications result in lot combinations or additions of portions of a lot to another adjoining existing lot.”

Rickard explained an addition “...is two non conforming lots of record being added together to make a larger parcel, or a portion of someone's land being added to another existing parcel.”

The planning director explained additions frequently occur to join smaller lots together to meet certain building regulations.

For example, “If you have a well that needs to be isolated 100 feet from a septic area,” said Rickard.

Another reason applications exceed new lots “...is that a number of applications are for the purposes of land development rather than a subdivision of land,” notes the report.

Looking over a graph mapping the last 18 years of application and new lots in the county, Rickard stated “When you look at this bar graph it also gives you an indication of when we had the recession in 2007-9, application activity went down, lots went down. And it's been steady back and forth over the last ten years.”

Roadwork

Rickard noted in the Planning Report the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) completed a total of 132.5 miles of State Route Surface Improvements in Wayne County in 2018.

“Looking at our Comprehensive Plan, we have 1400 miles of roads in this county,” said Rickard. “Over 700 miles of roads are under state ownership, so when you look at the amount of work that was done last year, as much as people are frustrated with some of the roads and the conditions...almost 20 percent of our roads were worked on.”

The majority of the improvements were completed in southern Wayne County as part of PennDOT's sectional cyclic maintenance plan.

As noted in previous articles, the sectional cyclic maintenance program has PennDOT focusing certain types of maintenance in different sections of the county each year, then rotating the type of maintenance being done to achieve all newly paved roads in a six year cycle.

Rickard also noted the last Wayne County bridge in the Rapid Bridge Replacement Program was completed in 2018, along with six other county bridges in need of repair, including the Narrowsburgh, NY-Darbytown, PA bridge.

The Planning Report notes PennDOT completed several slide repair projects in 2018.

Looking ahead to future road improvements, the report also outlines PennDOT's Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP)

“It's a 12-year program that shows the work that's going to be done on the PennDOT schedule,” Rickard explained.

Updated every two years, and broken in to three, four-year phases, the first TIP cycle will be completed between 2019 and 2022.

According to the Planning Report, this first phase will include seven highway improvements and 30 bridge improvements.

Overall cost for the TIP's three periods will be $41,441,000 in highway improvements and $70,210,635 in bridge improvements.