Planners review large development plans

August 12, 2003|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

Two more applications to rezone agricultural land were submitted Monday in Washington Township, bringing to more than 1,000 the number of acres developers want to turn into commercial and residential projects.

Only about 35 acres of the total are dedicated to commercial retail development. The lion's share would go into single- and multi-family housing projects, township officials said.

Monday night, the Washington Township Planning Commission were officially notified of the rezoning requests by Gerry Zeigler, the township's zoning enforcement officer.


He put the total at 1,005 acres. Developers began dropping off the record number of rezoning requests July 23 with the last two coming in Monday.

All of the land in question lies east and west of Country Club Road.

Planning commission members decided to hold two meetings to review the applications.

The five applications for property on the west side of Country Club Road will be reviewed by the members at their regular meeting Sept. 8. The four on the east side will be reviewed on Sept. 11.

Both meetings begin at 7 p.m. Property owners and developers will be present at the meetings, officials said.

So far the rezoning requests for commercial development have stirred the most local interest.

One of the two proposals, submitted by a Pittsburgh development firm called Echo Waynesboro Assoc., L.P., a company with no telephone listing, calls for 15 acres owned by Anthony and Jeffrey Bittner of 11689 Buchanan Trail East and 19 acres of the Welty Farm on Buchanan Trail East to be rezoned commercial.

The township has not received anything official on what the developer plans to put on the sites, but speculation is high among local officials that it will be a major retail chain.

The map supporting the rezoning requests shows three sites for retail outlets. One calls for a 173,000-square-foot building and one for 101,000 square feet.

The two newest applications for rezoning were submitted by Harry Buhrman, who wants to rezone 113 acres on Gehr Road from farmland to R-1, single-family residential, and Twila K. Flohr, 170 acres on Old Forge Road to R-1.

The commission scheduled its Sept. 8 meeting to review the following applications:

  • Michael Knepper is seeking the rezoning of 136 acres to single- and multi-family and commercial zoning.

  • Pen Mar Properties wants 105 acres on Country Club and Gehr roads rezoned from agricultural to R-1.

  • Curtis Mummert wants 33 acres on Stottlemyer Road rezoned to R-3 zoning.

  • Waynesboro Country Club wants to rezone 16 acres from agriculture to R-2 medium density to build condominiums.

  • Buhrman's request to rezone his 113 acres on Gehr Road to R-1.

The commission's Sept. 11 session will be taken up with:

  • The Echo Waynesboro Associates' application, which includes rezoning 49 acres from agricultural to R-2 in addition to its commercial rezoning requests.

  • Carlino Development Group's request to rezone 188 acres of land owned by Knouse Fruitland on Old Forge Road to R-2.

  • C. David and Barbara Layman's request to rezone 170 acres on Old Forge Road from agricultural to R-1 or R-2.

  • Flohr's and Brandenberg's request to rezone their 170 acres on Old Forge Road to R-1.

Zeigler said public water and sewer service is available to all of the land covered in the rezoning requests. In addition, all are eligible for planned residential developments of which the township has little say provided they meet the township's regulations, he said.

Township attorney John Lisko said the planning commission does not hold public hearings on the requests, although its meetings are open to the public. The planners will review the applications and send their recommendations for approval or denial to the Township Supervisors.

The supervisors will schedule public hearings on each request before they vote on them, Lisko said.

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