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King's Grant still causing controversy

February 27, 2000|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - More objections have been raised to the proposed King's Grant senior citizen apartment complex that would be built on a public parking lot owned by the Borough of Chambersburg.

Charles O. Beckley II, a Harrisburg, Pa., attorney representing three borough property owners, asked the Borough Council last week to reject the subdivision and development plan for the 52-unit complex because its violates the zoning and subdivision ordinance.

Beckley said the $5 million project, which would be built at the intersection of West Queen Street and Black Avenue, does not have a required 25-foot rear yard along its entire width and the lot size does not have the required 625 square-feet per family.

According to Beckley, the subdivision ordinance requires all subdivisions and land development plans within the Central Core Area of the borough to conform to the borough's comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance. Quoting from the comprehensive plan, Beckley said, "Freestanding apartment buildings would not be in architectural character with the Town Center."

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In November, Mayor Robert Morris broke a 5-5 tie on the council by voting to approve a 60-year lease on the property. In December Tanya K. Nitterhouse of Chambersburg, who owns several downtown properties, filed suit in Franklin County Court asking the King's Grant lease be declared invalid.

Beckley represents Nitterhouse and Dr. Joseph and Theresa Milazzo, who live adjacent to the lot where it would be built. He submitted a letter to council Wednesday outlining a dozen objections to the subdivision plan.

At previous meetings a number of borough residents and business owners objected to King's Grant because it would eliminate about 70 metered downtown parking spaces.

Having reviewed the plan, the council will vote to approve or deny it on March 8. "You may not vote against a subdivision unless you have a reason. ... The law says you have to tell them chapter and verse," Borough Attorney Thomas J. Finucane told the council.

"I think it's another in an unending series of attempts to stop this housing," said Glenn Brooks, a senior vice president for Leon Weiner & Associates, the company developing the project.

On March 8 the council will also vote on whether to give the company the second installment on $150,000 it pledged to the project. Leon Weiner & Associates has asked for $50,000 from the borough's Small Cities Community Development Block Grant funds for this year.

"Personally I'd like to eliminate Weiner & Associates" from Community Development Block Grant funding, Councilman Thomas L. Newcomer said. He voted against the project in November.

Councilman John Redding said the borough made a verbal commitment to financially support the project for low- and moderate-income senior citizens in 1998. "At the time I believe there was a consensus totally across the board," he said.

Brooks said Newcomer made the motion in 1998 to approve the first of the three installments on the project.

The council was to have voted on allocating Community Development Block Grant funds Wednesday, but action was delayed partly because of the King's Grant dispute.

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