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Wal-Mart gets supervisors' OK

December 23, 2003|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, Pa. - The Washington Township Supervisors on Monday approved the rezoning of two tracts from agricultural to commercial use, paving the way for a Wal-Mart Supercenter to be built near the Food Lion shopping center in Rouzerville, Pa.

Still up in the air, because of an 11th-hour proposal by a Harrisburg, Pa., real estate brokerage firm, is whether the center will be built there or on the Carl Diller Farm behind Wayne Heights Mall.

The supervisors tabled action until Jan. 19 on rezoning requests from six owners, most of them planning residential developments, pending agreements on a connector road that would carry traffic around Waynesboro through all 10 proposed developments.

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Developers are seeking the rezoning of more than 1,000 acres of farmland.

The supervisors did approve two mostly residential rezonings for land owned by Knouse Foods and C. David and Barbara Layman. The agreements for a connector road on those tracts were approved Monday.

The major action was the rezoning of land owned by Anthony and Jeffrey Bittner and Red Run LLC in Rouzerville for the Wal-Mart project. It was requested by Bruce E. Haney, vice president of development for Echo Real Estate Services in Pittsburgh.

George S. Lulos and William A. Aiello, representing the C.B. Richard Ellis development company in Harrisburg, asked the supervisors to table action on Haney's request and consider their proposal for a Wal-Mart Supercenter behind Wayne Heights Mall.

The request was ignored when the board approved Haney's request.

Spokesmen for both development companies said neither has a firm commitment from Wal-Mart to build in the Waynesboro area.

Haney said he thinks he has the best shot at convincing Wal-Mart officials to go with his plan because Monday's vote gives him the go-ahead to seek permits immediately and to begin work on design and engineering.

"I can start construction by late summer next year," he said.

Aiello said his company plans to continue its effort to secure a deal from Wal-Mart for the Diller Farm, which already is zoned commercial, he said. The Diller property has been discussed as a possible site for such a center for more than two years.

Aiello said traffic problems and securing permits from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation held up progress on that plan, but now that Kimco Realty, a major New York shopping center development firm, bought the Wayne Heights Mall in October, it can move forward again.

He said he wants to raze the former Ames Department Store in the mall's east end and use that space for an entrance to Wal-Mart. He said putting the store there is in keeping with the township's comprehensive plan.

Supervisors Chairman Paul Benchoff said after the meeting that the township prefers the Rouzerville site for Wal-Mart because it would create a better traffic flow.

Originally, the plan was to have the entrance to the Wal-Mart Supercenter at the Green Arbor Flower and Shrubbery Center at 11401 Buchanan Trail East, but that deal fell through.

The new entrance would be about 400 feet east and across from Yingling's Garage at 11508 Buchanan Trail East, Benchoff said.

He said the final decision on the developer rests with Wal-Mart officials.

The Rouzerville project would include a major home improvement center at one end of the shopping center. Haney knows who it will be, as do the supervisors, but the name won't be made public until sometime in January.

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