Builder told last week that he is “open to anything” that will rid him of the responsibility for maintaining Winchester Drive.
The road was built as part of the Riverview Estates development. Strausser says it now costs him about $40,000 a year to plow it, salt it and cut the grass around it, and he wants to take possession.
Strausser said township residents are already using Winchester via Frost Hollow Road to get to Route 611.
“[Mr. Strausser] can close the road off,” said Patrick Campbell, Strausser’s attorney. “The situation is unacceptable.”
The original plans had the township taking over the road, as it does for many development-built roads, but PennDOT wants improvements made to Winchester to allow better access onto Route 611, at an estimated cost of $1.2 to $1.5 million.
Campbell said before the housing market collapsed Strausser might have had a couple million dollars to consider that, but now he does not.
The problem, said township solicitor Karl Kline: “We’re in a situation where we are asked to maintain a road the public doesn’t have a right to use.”
Kline said PennDOT has not granted a permit that allows full access from Winchester onto the state roads. Campbell, however, said PennDOT has issued a “low-volume permit.”
But before the township can take possession of a road, supervisors said, they want to make sure it is in full compliance with PennDOT. Supervisor David Billings asked Strausser to write a proposal the spells out the details of what he’s asking so the the board can more fully examine the issue.
Strausser agreed to do that within a week.