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Neighbors organize to fight strip mall

March 30, 1999

Strip mall protestBy RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Neighbors of a proposed $5 million strip mall in Washington township are rallying to fight the project, one of the leaders of the effort said Tuesday.

Martin K. Lison, 38, of 12898 Old Forge Road, and his neighbor, Thomas M. Schilpp, met Saturday in Schilpp's home with a dozen area residents to rally opposition to the rezoning of 11 acres of the 46-acre farm of the late Richard and Catherine Welty from multi-family to commercial.

Lison's and Schilpp's homes abut the Welty farm.

The rezoning is being sought by Sam Welty, the Welty's son. He is executor of their estate and a local real estate agent. Welty lives a few houses up Old Forge Road from Lison and Schilpp.

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The Washington Township Planning Commission will hold a hearing on the rezoning April 12.

Welty wants to sell the 11 acres to Timber Development Corp. for a strip mall that will include a dozen stores anchored by a Food Lion.

Douglas Bercu, a partner in Timber Development, said earlier that his company built a similar-sized mall in Chambersburg, Pa., and has the go-ahead to build one in Greencastle, Pa.

The neighbors, in a letter to the Township Supervisors, said they are concerned about increased traffic from the mall and runoff from the parking lot that could contaminate nearby Little Antiretam Creek with oil and anti-freeze. They are also worried about the light and noise from 24-hour stores and want buffers to protect their property.

Jerry Zeigler, zoning enforcement officer for Washington Township, said Welty and the developer will present their plans and answer questions at the hearing.

When Lison moved into his home in 1993, the Welty farm had been zoned multi-family commercial for five years. He said he knew the farm would eventually be developed but didn't expect it to be commercial development.

Built in 1942, Lison's house was recently appraised at $119,000.

Zeigler said the mall will have an entrance on Pa. 16 across from the Midvale Road intersection and one through an old right-of-way off Old Forge Road.

The Old Forge Road entrance has Lison and his neighbors particularly worried because it passes between two homes, one of which is just two houses down from Schilpp's. Lison said traffic would increase on Old Forge Road as a result.

Zeigler said the first four properties on the east side of Old Forge Road will increase in value because they could be rezoned commercial. "The land will be worth more than the houses. If some store like a Hardee's wants a corner lot on the entrance it would be easy to do," he said.

He didn't think Schilpp's or Lison's properties could be rezoned commercial. "Of course you can't tell what will happen in the future," he said.

Zeigler said the mall will be a better neighbor for Lison and Schilpp than a development of townhouses and apartments behind their homes.

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