Franklin County Commissioners meeting moves to Thursday this week

August 8 – The Franklin County Commissioners will meet Thursday this week because there is a County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) conference this week. 

The meetings on Thursday will be at the same time – 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

The Franklin County Conservation District was a recent topic of discussion for Franklin County Commissioner John Flannery.  

He explained, “We actually rent their space to them over on Franklin Farm Lane, but I had the opportunity to meet with them about a week and a half ago. I had a question from one of my constituents in regards to whether they got involved with some of the development he was doing on his property.”

Flannery and representatives from Congressman John Joyce’s office as well as Senator Doug Mastriano’s office met with Dave Stoner from the conservation district after a phone call from a resident who wanted to know exactly what he needed to do on his property. 

Flannery said, “The one thing to understand is when I first got the phone call, the Conservation District is regulated, or overseen by the DEP, which is the state. So really again, here we go, this whole situation as a county commissioner, I have no authority over the Franklin County Conservation District. But I thought it was a great opportunity for us to sit down, meet with them, get our local elected officials involved and figure out what do you do and how does it affect us as residents here in Franklin County? So if you want to build a house or buy property and do anything to it, what does that mean? So you have to file a land use permit with your local municipality. Anytime you move dirt, what we found out, if you move over 5,000 square feet of dirt, you’ve got to write up a plan. I did it when I built my house here in Guilford about three years ago. But if you disturb an acre or more, which one of my constituents did do, what the municipality should have done and they didn’t do was alert them that they need to file a permit with the state DEP. Well, the municipality that he was in, failed to notify him of that and I guess an upset neighbor called and next thing you know, the conservation district’s on his property, giving him a hard time. Well, again, they’re regulated by the state and the DEP. DEP gets involved, there’s a federal form you’ve got to fill out if you’re going to disturb more than an acre of land. Let’s be honest, this guy is trying to do the right thing. It’s a dilapidated property. He’s trying to clear it up, make it look nice. Then next thing you know, he’s going through all kinds of stuff with people coming in from DDP and the Army Corps of Engineers. I mean, it’s just crazy. But the one thing I did learn is they’re not out there to give you a hard time. The Conservation District was established by farmers years ago and the DEP gives them a hard time, with farmers and what’s coming off their land and the chemicals and so they’re really trying to do the right thing. We’ve smoothed things over, everything’s fine. All permits were filed. It was good for me to be able to get them together, our elected officials, and meet with the conservation districts so we all understand exactly what they do, what their responsibility is and what the homeowners and property owners responsibility or developers responsibilities are here in Franklin County.” 

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM added, “With the growth in in Franklin County, that’s really important that you get your arms around this between the county, between Congressman John Joyce, between State Senator Mastriano and then also the townships, who may be this looks fine on our piece of paper, and all of a sudden, you’ve got the red tape express coming in for it.”

Flannery said, “Dave is a great guy. He was very accommodating to us, and gave us all the information we needed. He did a really, really good job, thorough job with us.”

The Franklin County comprehensive 10-year plan open house is open today until 5 p.m. at the administration building, 272 North Second Street. 

Flannery said, “The public is invited to be there to provide comments before we finalize the plan, before it goes to commissioners for final approval. So I encourage everybody to get out, sit down, talk to us, talk to our planning department. Make sure that you understand our 10 year plan and if you have any issues with it, now’s the time.”

The plan is available on the county’s website. 

Flannery said that Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Critical Race Theory did not make it into the county’s 10-year plan. 

There have been listening sessions for the Department of Aging in the county recently. There are seven senior centers in Franklin County. The next listening session is at 1 p.m. on August 17 in the Office of the Aging in Chambersburg. 

Flannery said, “So our attendees that come to that, we encourage them to provide feedback on the state’s master plan for older adults.”

Feedback on the broadband feasibility study is due August 11. 

Flannery said in the past “the county has not gotten involved. Comcast, some other internet providers, are accepting grant money. We participated in a feasibility study here in Franklin County. So we’re encouraged by August 11, that people that want to participate can find both the survey and the draft feasibility report, that’s on our website, but by August 11, we’d like everybody to get their feedback in for us before we even consider making any decisions moving forward with that.”

Some people who have looked at the map thought the broadband would cover more. 

Flannery said, “I did get some feedback from one individual that I brought to planning and this person actually gave it to our planning department as well. So it’s something we’re going to keep an eye on and by no means is this map a done deal. It’s just they’re provided that they saw the biggest weaknesses here in Franklin County, and that’s something we can decide whether we expand on and move forward with or not or partner with some of these internet providers or not. We have a long way to go with that.”