Rutter's official unsure of store start date

September 01, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A Rutter's Farm Store official said Tuesday that the company's new Waynesboro store will take about four months to build, but he wasn't sure when the construction would begin.

The Waynesboro Borough voted 4-0 Monday to approve the project, despite strong neighborhood opposition. It won the blessings of the Waynesboro Planning Commission in July.

Tim Rutter, treasurer of the York, Pa.,-based company, said he didn't know if construction could begin this year or early in 2005. The company still has to settle on the purchase of the 6,300-square-foot property sandwiched between South Potomac Street, West Third Street and Philadelphia Avenue. It currently is owned by local developer Ronnie Martin.


Permits from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, as well as local zoning and building permits, also must be obtained before construction can begin, Rutter said.

Construction will begin this year if the work can be completed before it gets cold, he said.

The building will be brick with a flat roof and a canopy over the gas pumps. Entrances will be off the three streets that border the store.

Residents along those streets began their fight against the project as soon as it was announced in April. They call themselves Citizens for Sane Development. Between 20 and 25 members showed up at planning commission and council meetings as the project worked its way through the process. They presented petitions opposing the project.

The citizens said they worried about traffic safety, pollution, noise and excessive lights, among other things.

They argued their case up to the last minute and beyond.

Roy Tressler, spokesman for the citizens group, in a letter to be delivered to the council, said that "petitions and signed documents carry little weight in your decision-making process. The pleas of citizens have not been able to sway you from your course of action."

He said he was speaking for himself in the letter, not on behalf of his friends and neighbors.

Council members, acting on advice from Borough Solicitor D. Lloyd Reichard II, said they had no choice but to approve the Rutter's project because it met all borough zoning and subdivision regulations.

Tressler, in his letter, said the council's decision has made the most dangerous intersection in Waynesboro more dangerous, subjected the neighborhood to "designed blight," allowed a nuisance to be created, put the borough's environment at risk and sent a message that special interests overshadow the need for some development.

The citizens also asked Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger to talk to Rutter's officials about a list of concerns they had, including the hours the store will be open, traffic concerns and lighting, plus a request that the station not have loudspeakers at the gas pumps.

Hamberger said he sent Rutter's a letter with the concerns. In their reply, Rutter's officials said their project meets all borough regulations, Hamberger said.

Tim Rutter said Tuesday that the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry requires two-way communication at self-serve gas pumps. He also said the hours the store will operate have not been determined.

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