Borough of Bath Road Plan

Borough of Bath to Move Forward on Official Road Plan

On Wednesday, January 9, 2019, at their Bi-Monthly meeting, Council voted unanimously to approve a policy recommendation of the Borough’s Public Works & Facilities Committee addressing the legal standing of the many roads, streets, and alleys throughout Bath.

What does this mean and how did this come about?  Let’s go back to the Borough’s beginning.  The Borough transitioned from village status to a Borough in 1856.  There existed only a few streets and alleys at that time as the Borough was only a few blocks in length as it was wide.  On May 21, 1889, by Ordinance #23, the Borough began regulating streets within its jurisdiction.  This authority/power is granted to Borough Council by laws of the Commonwealth prescribed by the ‘Borough Code’; Title 8 of the Pa. Consolidated Statutes.

The Borough Code (which regulates Bath) is explicit about the creation and adoption of public roads.  It requires an affirmative action by Borough Council, such as dedicating a public street by ordinance.  This is often confused with implied dedication of a public street.  In other words, where a municipality may maintain and pave a street, something it may have done for many years therefore it should be considered a public street.  Implied dedication rules are found in the 2nd Class Township Code, but not the Borough Code.  The 2nd Class Township Code does have a provision that states if a municipality has maintained a street for 21 years and the roadway width is at least 33 feet wide, it is declared to be a public street whether the municipality has record of dedication or not.  So, just because a Borough may have been maintaining a street or alley for more than 21 years, it doesn’t necessarily mean the Borough must continue with that service unless said street or alley has been publicly dedicated by law.

From 1889 to present day, there are 40 streets and alleys identified that were officially opened and dedicated to the public by local Ordinance.  When a road, street, or alley is opened and dedicated to the public by law, this grants the authority for the municipality to expend tax dollars and perform road maintenance such as snow and ice removal and repaving work.  Here is a list of known public streets of Bath:

  • Center Street
  • Wabash Street
  • Christmas Avenue
  • Smith Street
  • Allen Street
  • Penn Street
  • Broad Street
  • Spruce Street
  • Easter Terrace
  • Independence Avenue
  • Memorial Drive
  • Creek Road
  • Old Forge Drive
  • Century Drive
  • Hoch Street
  • Elm Street
  • McIhaney Street
  • Hirst Street
  • Silk Mill Street
  • Craig Street
  • Fountain Street
  • Hoch Street (extended)
  • Pine Street
  • Wolf Street
  • Pavlov Place
  • Archie Leigh Street
  • Spyglass Hill Road
  • Spyglass Hill Court
  • Park Ridge Drive
  • Turnberry Court
  • W. Northampton Street
  • Shimoski Way
  • Poplar Street
  • Pearl Street
  • Kiem Street
  • Bank Street
  • Barrall Avenue
  • Washington Street

As of 2019, the Borough’s road inventory grew to approximately 73 streets! This left Council to ponder the question of where the 33 additional streets became of record without having any of those streets formally recognized and Ordained under law.  This issue needed to be further analyzed.  Streets of Bath without an ordinance are as follows:

  • E. Barber Street
  • Green Street
  • Horner Street
  • Mill Street
  • Mulberry Street
  • Oak Street
  • Schaeffer Street
  • Stone Post Road
  • Union Street
  • West Street
  • Wunderler’s Way
  • Heidle Avenue
  • Helfferick Street
  • Unnamed Alley #1 (between Mulberry Street and Bridge Street)
  • Beers Street
  • Bridge Street
  • Diamond Street
  • James Street
  • Oak Street (parts west of Poplar Street and east of Broad Street)
  • Locust Street
  • Blair Avenue
  • Siegfried Street
The following list of streets are being considered or are known to be private streets:
  • McClure Street
  • Sleepy Hollow Road
  • Blair Street
  • Unnamed Alley #2 (off W. Northampton Street)
  • Birch Street
  • Unnamed Alley #3 (between Penn Street and Heidle Avenue)
  • Spring Street
  • Worman Road (developed as private)
  • Park Terrace Drive (developed as private)
  • Any other paper streets listed on an official Borough map

The Bath Public Works & Facilities Committee, a standing sub-committee of Borough Council, was tasked with studying and developing the Borough’s Road Plan and drafting memoranda to address several issues concerning the legality of roads that have been Ordained, different from those that have never received public acceptance by Ordinance.  The final version of the memorandum made its way to Council at the January 9, 2019 meeting.  After in-depth discussion and careful consideration, Council voted unanimously that the committee’s recommendations will become the policy on building a new Borough Road Plan.  A minor change was made to the criteria list and later adopted by Council.  Here is the list of criteria the Public Works & Facilities Committee has been using to evaluate the updated road inventory:

  1. Street/Alley contains significant public utilities; water, sewer, MS4, natural gas; OR
  2. Street/Alley has been open to the public for 21 years; OR
  3. Street/Alley meets all guidelines to become a Liquid Fuels designated street; AND
  4. 51% consent of abutting property owners has been achieved in writing in accordance with a Borough Agreement & Waiver form; AND
  5. Street/Alley connects to two (2) open streets; if dead-end, must be at least 30 feet wide; AND
  6. Proposed street is 16 in width; OR
  7. Street/Alley is critical to Public Works operations as determined by the committee; OR
  8. Properties abutting the street/alley adjoin to a snow emergency route AND the street/alley is entirely comprised of macadam.

The Public Works & Facilities Committee is tasked with identifying a list of streets, roads, and alley’s to be considered for public adoption, as well as identifying streets, roads, and alley’s that will not receive continued maintenance from the Borough; being considered ‘private.’  A private designation does not mean the road is closed off to public use.  Even in the traditional sense of a street vacation, the land must be open to anyone with a property interest associated with it.  A private street only signifies that Public Works will not maintain the street/alley.

What’s the Borough’s Timeline?  It may take Council up to eighteen months to officially adopt a new road plan when considering the community outreach efforts involved, administrative processing, legal, and engineering work that all must be completed prior to passing the new Road Plan and street map as law.

For more information, please attend upcoming Council meetings.  You can also contact our office at (610) 837-6525 as the Public Works & Facilities Committee begins the process of reaching out to property owners in the coming months.

You may also reach out to the Public Works & Facilities Committee directly.  The Committee Chairperson is Tony Kovalovsky, joined by Committee-person Mark Saginario, Committee-person Michele Ehrgott and Manager Brad Flynn.

(Updated September 5, 2019)

Borough of Bath

121 South Walnut Street
Bath, PA 18014

(610) 837-6525

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