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Waynesboro Council hears Rutter's backlash

April 22, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, PA. - More than 20 West Third Street-area residents organized to fight a planned Rutter's Farm Store in their neighborhood lobbed their first volley toward the Waynesboro Borough Council Wednesday night.

Waynesboro developer Ronnie Martin presented a preliminary plan on the project, which also will include a drive-in banking facility, to the Waynesboro Planning Commission April 12. It would be built on the site of the former Brake Pontiac-Cadillac dealership on the corner of West Third and South Potomac streets.

Martin owns the property. He was not present at the meeting and could not be reached for comment afterward.

The planners tabled action on the proposal until Martin brings in detailed plans, Kevin Grubbs, assistant director of engineering for the borough, said Wednesday night.

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Martin has said construction of the convenience store could begin in three to four months.

Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger cautioned the residents that if the project meets borough zoning regulations, the council has to approve it.

Hamberger said the council's hands are tied by rules in the Pennsylvania Municipal Planning Code which governs local council actions.

Hamberger's words did little to appease the citizen opponents who call themselves "Concerned Waynesboro Citizens Against Rutter's."

Roy Tressler, of 121 W. Third St., said his neighborhood consists of older, well-maintained homes. "Our neighborhood reflects what we're proud of in Waynesboro," he said.

He asked that the council turn down the project when it comes before the members and rezone the property from commercial to residential use.

"We don't want it and we don't need it. Let's rethink this. We're counting on you," Tressler told the council members.

Tressler said the threat of a lawsuit by the developer, should he be turned down, "should not be the determining factor."

The council shouldn't let Martin "strong-arm the community," he said.

Councilman Jahnathan Cain suggested that the residents appeal directly to Martin.

Other speakers expressed concerns about traffic, noise, bright lights, pollution and environmental damage and loss of property values if the gas station/convenience store is built.

The opponents also have taken their fight to the public. Hand-written signs opposing the Rutter's project hung from windows and front porches of many homes along West Third Street Wednesday.

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