Council opposes PennDOT right-of-way policy

Members of city council unanimously approved the passage of Resolution 11-2 during their Monday evening meeting. The resolution expresses the city's opposition to a newly enacted, state-approved PennDOT policy that places the burden associated with the coordination and application for Highway Occupancy Permits relating to stormwater modifications, construction and liabilities in Commonwealth right-of-ways on the municipality instead of on PennDOT. Following the meeting, City Manager Dave Greene explained that individuals or organizations looking to modify stormwater facilities or complete construction within a commonwealth right-of-way need to secure a Highway Occupancy Permit. "Normally the applicant would apply to PennDOT for the permit. [PennDOT] would send an inspector out and say 'yes' or 'no' or tell you what you need to do," Greene said. "What they've done now is they've said, 'Okay, it's up to the municipality. Make your application to the city. The city will in turn send that application to PennDOT and then we'll decide whether it's going to be approved or not, but the city's going to assume all the liability and the risk for approving that Highway Occupancy Permit."Greene remarked that the city does not agree with this policy change and this was the reasoning behind the resolution.