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St. Thomas approves zoning

October 02, 1997

By LISA GRAYBEAL

Staff Writer, Chambersburg

ST. THOMAS, Pa. - St. Thomas Township supervisors unanimously approved a zoning ordinance for the township Thursday night, a decision that at least temporarily put an end to the controversial issue that has plagued the community for more than a year.

Supervisor Robert Lake made the motion to approve the ordinance with the intent of making certain amendments to it at a later date.

"I have thought long and hard on this decision," Lake told the standing-room-only crowd packed into the municipal building's garage.

Lake, an advocate of zoning from the beginning, discussed the merits of the zoning ordinance, insuring the residents that it would not negatively affect them.

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Earlier in the meeting and at other public hearings on the subject, several residents spoke against zoning, saying it's restrictive, infringes on their rights and serves as more government.

At Thursday's meeting and in the past, residents told the supervisors that a zoning ordinance isn't needed since there are local ordinances already in place - but need to be enforced - addressing issues like junk yards, property upkeep and sign placement.

More than 2,500 township residents signed a petition opposing the zoning ordinance.

Supervisor Randall Quinn, who seconded the motion, reflected some of Lake's comments, adding that he's thinking of the township's future.

"I'm trying to think long-term - 8 or 10 years down the road. I want to do what's right for the township," he said.

Quinn also said that zoning would provide a "major stumbling block" for the proposed Multilee landfill off of St. Thomas-Williamson Road, another source of contention in the township that goes back nearly 15 years.

"We have to decide. Do we want a dump or zoning?" he asked the crowd.

Township Solicitor John Lisko backed Quinn's statement, saying that zoning helped Antrim Township when the Mountain View Reclamation landfill in Upton, Pa., wanted to expand.

With the zoning ordinance approved, the proposed Multilee landfill falls under agriculture-zoned land.

Supervisor Edmund Herald said he would have rather voted not to take any action on the issue in light of statements made earlier this year by two candidates running for supervisor in the upcoming election that they would overturn an approval.

But he told the audience that he believes zoning is right for the township and reminded them that his political platform favored zoning when he ran for supervisor.

"I feel there's no way I can vote against the motion," he said.

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