Dunnstable gears up for court over border dispute

By SARAH PAEZ

spaez@lockhaven.com

LOCK HAVEN — Dunnstable Township is preparing to go to court over a years-long boundary dispute with neighboring Woodward Township.

The long, drawn out conflict was sparked when Clinton County’s geographical information systems mapping department changed the boundary between the two townships.

Woodward Township does not like the line as it appears on the county’s GIS map because it claims the change caused Woodward to lose property and potential gas impact fees.

To remedy its loss, it would like to have the former line back.

But Dunnstable won’t agree to that.

“My feeling, the quicker we get (to court), the better I’m going to feel,” said John Lucas, Dunnstable Township supervisor.

Woodward supervisors say 517 acres are in question since the boundary was involuntarily moved.

But Dunnstable insists there are 285 acres in dispute.

At their last meeting, the Dunnstable supervisors said the boundary line begins at the West Branch of the Susquehanna River on Great Island Road, leading to a monument on Fargus Island Road, and onto another monument on Route 664 at Swissdale, toward German Road.

“We had a great survey” to determine that the current boundary supported by Dunnstable is correct, said Lucas.

At Monday’s meeting, Lucas said he was upset at comments leveled against him recently by Woodward Supervisor Chair Kyle Coleman.

He said he is also very upset that the dispute led to Sewage Enforcement Officer Jeff Kreger getting fired by Woodward Township.

Kreger works for Dunnstable and other townships in the same role, and had openly agreed with Dunnstable’s view on the boundary line and spoken out against Woodward’s view, Lucas said.

Woodward supervisors cited Kreger’s conflicting views as the reason for firing him, according to Lucas.

Fred Henry, a local land surveyor, said Woodward Township was created out of Dunnstable around 1841 or 1842.

The Woodward “annex line” is the line in dispute, he said.

Henry said that, according to books by the Pennsylvania Department of State, only a judge can change the line.

If the case goes to court, which more than likely it will, the court would appoint a three-person board of review, made up of people recommended by each party, to view the property and have each side’s surveyor point to where they believe the survey points are.

Then both sides would present evidence for their cases.

“Bring ’em on,” said Lee Roberts, the Dunnstable Township solicitor. “I’m ready. Let’s get on with it. If they appoint a board tomorrow, we’re going to court.”

Last month, Woodward approved a surveyor, Stanley Kimberley, to walk the boundary line and gather information to build a case against Dunnstable.

If he does not finish the survey before the two parties decide to go to court, Roberts said Woodward may ask for a continuation, which would delay the process.

Roberts said he is confident that Dunnstable has the correct information regarding the boundary line.

“You can have all the opinions in the world, but it’s a surveying issue,” he said.

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