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Still no decision on location of Wal-Mart in township

February 19, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - There is no word yet on the location of Wal-Mart in Washington Township, but the Washington Township Board of Supervisors on Wednesday took another step toward establishing a way to pay for a proposed relief route around Pa. 16.

"Regarding the Wal-Mart in Rouzerville (Pa.), there's been no final decision on that, and when there is a decision, there'll be a press conference," Township Manager Mike Christopher said.

Christopher said he spoke on Wednesday with Bruce Haney, vice president of Echo Real Estate Services Development of Pittsburgh, the company that requested the 24-acre Rouzerville property be rezoned for a Wal-Mart. Christopher said he thought an announcement would come soon, but would not predict when or what decision Wal-Mart will make regarding a location.

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In December, as the supervisors were considering proposals to rezone more than 1,000 acres from mostly agricultural land to residential and commercial zoning, WAM Enterprises Inc. of Lemoyne, Pa., resurrected its earlier proposal to build a Wal-Mart behind Wayne Heights Mall on the former Diller farm.

About two years earlier, WAM Enterprises, on assignment from Wal-Mart, purchased the farm as a possible site for a supercenter, but the company was "stymied by a traffic problem and prevented from getting the necessary PennDOT approvals," according to a letter to the township dated Dec. 22. The sale of Wayne Heights Mall and the closing of Ames department store at the mall presented an opportunity to a new access route to the Diller farm, the letter said.

The WAM letter noted the Diller farm had already been zoned by the township for large-scale retail development.

"We don't deal with Wal-Mart; we deal with the developers," Christopher said earlier in the day.

The retail giant will select the site, he said.

A result of the supervisors' decision to rezone the 1,025 acres was agreements from the nine property owners to build portions of the proposed relief route through those lands. In addition to commercial development, the rezoning of the properties is expected to generate 1,400 or more housing units over time and greatly increase traffic along the Pa. 16 corridor, according to estimates during the public hearing process last year.

The proposed route would begin on the north side of Pa. 16 east of Old Forge Road and end west of Price's Church Road, according to the township's preliminary plan. A final route plan will depend on the acquisition of the rights of way across lands not included in the package of rezoned properties

To generate money for the sections of the route the township will build, an impact fee ordinance is being considered.

Wednesday, the supervisors appointed a seven-member impact fee advisory committee to "develop land-use assumptions, conduct roadway sufficiency analysis studies, and make recommendations as to the development of road improvements, capital improvements and impact fees within the service area," the resolution said.

In short, the committee will determine how much it will cost to complete the relief route and how it is paid for, Christopher said. Named to the committee were Paul G. Benchoff, Gary F. Bercaw, Paul Gunder, Gale F. Krawczak, Geoffrey N. Miller, Clifton D. Norris and David R. Siegrist.

Christopher said the development that occurs in the area to be served by the relief route will pay for its cost.

"The people who buy house lots would pay the impact fee at the time the building permit is issued," he said.

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