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Retail development eyed in Washington Township

August 07, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A Pittsburgh development company is asking Washington Township to rezone nearly 70 acres in Rouzerville, Pa., to make way for a retail center, according to an application filed with the township this week.

The applicant on the rezoning request is listed as Echo Waynesboro Assoc., L.P. of 701 Alpha Drive, Pittsburgh. The company has no telephone listing. There was no individual's name on the application.

While rumors abound that it's for a Wal-Mart store, Paul Benchoff, supervisors chairman, said the township has received nothing official yet. The rumors about Wal-Mart were discussed at a supervisor's meeting in July, he said.

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"We don't know who it's for. There's nothing definite," Benchoff said Wednesday. "All we know is that developers are working on it."

According to a map of the proposed development, the request for commercial zoning sets aside three parcels for retail space, including one 173,000-square-foot building, one for 101,000 square feet and one for 30,000 square feet. The map also outlines four outparcels.

The entrance would be off Pa. 16 near the Green Arbor Flower and Shrubbery Center at 11401 Buchanan Trail East, according to the map.

The largest parcel, 49 acres, is owned by Anthony and Jeffrey Bittner of 11689 Buchanan Trail East, according to the application. That land is zoned agricultural and the application asks it be rezoned for commercial and residential use.

The property is used for farming, horse boarding, auto repair and residential. It includes a home, barn and large garage, the application said. Of the total, 15 acres will be dedicated to retail use. The rest will remain in its existing use, the application said.

The other parcel, 19 acres, currently zoned residential, is owned by Red Run LLC of 22 Wild Forest Drive, Wernersville, Pa. According to the rezoning application, it is being farmed. There are no buildings.

The application requests that the entire 19 acres be rezoned commercial.

The Washington Township Planning Commission will get its first look at the application Monday, Washington Township Manager Michael Christopher said. At that time the commission members will set its Sept. 8 meeting for the first public comment session on the project, he said.

Incoming Township Supervisor Christopher Firme is a leader of the citizens group fighting the Glen Afton Acres residential project on Harbaugh Church Road. The same group successfully fought the supervisors' proposal for a bypass around Washington Township earlier this year.

Firme said Wednesday he is opposed to the proposed retail complex in Rouzerville.

"Even if we can't stop it, we want to see that it's done correctly and in the open," he said.

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