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Signs along the way; Berlin Township nixes Route 652 signage requests

By Linda Drollinger
June 25, 2014

BEACH LAKE, PA — The burning issue at the June 17 Berlin Township Board of Supervisors meeting was whether two sign requests made by township residents would be approved by the board. They weren’t. Both requests were brought before the board during the public participation segment of the meeting.

Referencing the sign moratorium announced by the board at its May 20 meeting, Travis Samson of Indian Orchard asked if it pertained to signs placed on private property. The board informed him that the moratorium did apply to private property and that his request to place a sign promoting his small business in front of his home on Route 652 was denied. Samson, in turn, accused the board of being the kind of government that tells people what they can do on their own property, and pointed out that some billboard-type business signs already line Route 652 in the vicinity of his home—Davis Chant and Marshall Machinery among them.

Explaining board rationale for the moratorium, Chairman Paul Henry said that public sentiment was moving away from billboard signage and toward preserving the rustic character of the area. Supervisor Cathy Hunt added that Samson’s residential neighbors could experience significant property value depreciation if Samson’s sign request were allowed.

When Samson asked what recourse he had, Henry invited him to attend the next township planning board meeting, which will consider adopting a signage ordinance in keeping with models provided three years ago by Ed Coar, then director of the Wayne County Planning Commission.

Clayton Crum of Beach Lake, seeking a four-way stop sign at the intersection of Catholic Church Street and Route 652 in Beach Lake, said that he felt it his civic duty to draw attention to what he considers to be a public safety hazard. Citing a traffic death at the site, Crum complained that most drivers (especially those from New York State) ignore the posted 25 mph speed limit in the business district comprising the gas station, café, Carousel Fun Park, firehouse and post office. He claimed that traffic studies prove four-way stops force drivers to reduce speed.

The board reminded Crum that Route 652 is a state highway and is therefore under PennDOT, not Berlin Township, jurisdiction. Henry also stated that what is really needed is not additional signage but routine enforcement of the posted speed limit. To that end, Hunt promised to send weekly letters requesting speed limit enforcement to the local Pennsylvania State Police barracks.