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Housing plans watered down in township

July 19, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Plans by Harrisburg, Pa., developers to build a housing development of more than 230 units on the Carl Diller farm behind Wayne Heights Mall are being watered down because of the project's possible impact on the East Branch of Antietam Creek, which runs along the property's edge.

The Washington Township Supervisors Monday hit the developers - William A. Aiello and George S. Lulos, doing business as WAM Enterprises - with questions about the impact the project's runoff would have on neighbors and its overall effect on the Antietam.

The developers have eliminated 13 building lots near the creek from their overall plan to satisfy supervisor concerns. Supervisor Stewart McCleaf on Monday asked them to cut another 14 for insurance.

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This is not the first time Lulos and Aiello have been before the supervisors. Their original plan for the 120-acre Diller farm was to convert it into a commercial venture to lure a Wal-Mart development. At the time, they convinced the supervisors to rezone the land from agricultural to commercial.

But once Wal-Mart and Lowe's chose a site, now called Rouzerville Commons, farther east on Pa. 16, Aiello and Lulos realized their commercial zoning had little value. They returned to the township requesting a rezoning to residential.

Their latest plan, the one the supervisors considered Monday, includes a handful of lots for small commercial ventures.

Lulos, in asking for approval of their preliminary plans, said he and Aiello have acted in good faith trying to meet the township's demands. He said eliminating many more lots would make their project uneconomical.

"If we have to lose much more, this project is dead," he said.

Plans call for the township to build a road from the development to connect with the proposed seven-mile-long Washington Township Boulevard that the supervisors and a host of contiguous developers, including the owners of Rouzerville Commons, will build to connect their projects, plus serve as an eventual bypass around the Borough of Waynesboro.

Commissioners President Arthur Cordell said he opposes the project as long as its runoff encroaches its neighbors.

"I don't like that. You come back and tell us there won't be an encroachment," he said.

"We promised a lot of people that that stream wouldn't be touched," McCleaf said. "Why not remove 14 more houses? You moved back from the stream, but not far enough."

Supervisor Richard Mohn Jr. said, "I oppose any development along Antietam Creek. You have to move out of those areas."

Several citizens also spoke against the project.

Earlier this month, the township's planning commission sent the plans to the supervisors without a recommendation.

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