A group of Cumberland Township residents are hoping to prevent the Gettysburg Municipal Authority (GMA) from building a 160-foot tall water tower along a scenic area on a vacant property on the west side of Fairfield Rd.
The property is on the corner of Herrs Ridge Rd. and Red Oak Lane.
Local resident Susan Paddock said the tower will alter the character and property values of the neighborhood and be visible from historic districts, land trust preserved properties, as well as many areas in the Gettysburg National Military Park including Little Round Top.
GMA Utilities Manager Mark Guise said the tower is needed to provide sufficient water pressure for new developments in the area and that the site had been chosen because of its elevation. Guise said the new houses on Herr’s Ridge Rd. are at higher elevation.
Paddock said she felt the tower was unnecessary given needed water storage could be provided with a ground storage tank and water pumps.
Guise said GMA currently uses a booster pump to reach houses at higher elevations.
Construction will require the township to change its zoned height limit for essential service structures from the existing 35 feet limit to a proposed 175 foot maximum.
The group has hired an attorney to represent their concerns.
A water storage facility was originally scheduled to be built on Aqua Drive within the newest area of Cumberland Village, West of Herrs Ridge Rd. But that site was too close to the Gettysburg Airport.
Although it has no jurisdiction in the decision, the Adams County Office of Planning & Development reviewed the proposal. The county said justification should be given for choosing a maximum height of 175 feet and that if there is no particular justification for choosing 175 feet recommended there be no maximum height for essential services.
The county also recommended the township conduct a viewshed test to determine visibility of the new structure and “prevent any type of essential service from standing out to a large degree from the existing landscape or disturbing the visual integrity of the battlefield landscape.”
GMA serves about 4,400 residents in Gettysburg Borough and parts of Straban and Cumberland Township.
The Cumberland Township Planning Commission is scheduled to consider the proposal at their meeting on July 14 at 7:00 p.m. and the township board of supervisors is expected to hold a public hearing before making a final decision sometime this month.
The neighborhood group encourages concerned citizens to send their comments and attend the public meetings.
Comments can be sent to the Cumberland County Board of Supervisors or the Planning commission by calling 717.334.6485 or mailing to 1370 Fairfield Rd., Gettysburg PA 17325.