Saturday, May 20, 2006

Residents Address Council On Proposed Opening of Buckskin Path to Principia

By Phyllis Schaltenbrand

An attempt by Councilman Bob Hoepfner to extend Buckskin Path from Hunters Ridge to Principia has met with mixed reviews from those in the neighborhood.

Hoepfner was absent from the City Council Meeting Tuesday evening when several residents from Runny Meade, Briar Cliff and Beacon Hill subdivisions spoke for and against the opening of the cut through.

Steve Thro, who resides on Principia, told the Council that in 1993 the builder of the Beacon Hills subdivision told him he was not going to build the cut through and the City was not requiring him to build it and had required no escrow funds. He also said in 1995 the Council voted not to connect the streets.

Some of the residents said Councilman Hoepfner told them he was going to have the streets connected as a public safety factor because of problems that may occur when Elm Street is being reconstructed. Bob Boerding, the St. Charles assistant chief of police, told the Council that there was no safety factor involved regarding response from the police department and he had talked to assistant fire chief Rich Olney who told him that the construction on Elm would have little or no impact on reducing response time by the fire department. He also said that based on his experience there would be an increase in crime and public safety issues if the cut through was opened..

Tom Pohlman who resides on Principia said that children would be in danger if the street was opened.

In 2002 attempts were made to open the street and according to the residents Hoepfner told them that he would not open the street as long as he was on the City Council.

Dan Keltch of Principia said that the streets were too narrow, 26 feet, and the City had taken no action on the problem of street creep that he though would worsen if more traffic uses the street.

When Dan Foust was the Councilman representing the area the right of way for the street was vacated and the property was given to the three adjacent property owners. If the City Council votes to open the cut through that property will have to be condemned under eminent domain if the property owners refuse to give the City a right of way.
Allen Gingerich who resides on Bryn Maur thought opening the street is the right thing to do and is in full agreement with Hoepfner that the opening is needed. June Latrel of Cole in Briar Cliff, a resident for over 30 years spoke against connecting the streets.

The cost estimate to connect the streets two years ago was $100,000.