Guilford Township residents protest proposed rezoning

July 22, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE


"If there's one thing the Chambersburg area doesn't need it's another shopping center," said one of about 50 area residents who turned out Thursday night to oppose a plan for a shopping mall anchored by a Home Depot store on U.S. 30, already one of Franklin County's busiest roads.

Benderson Development, a Florida-based development company, has asked the Guilford Township Supervisors to rezone a 13.7-acre residential strip sandwiched between a large commercial area along Lincoln Way East just west of Mower Road, and an even larger area of residentially zoned land.

The tract in question is part of the Harriet W. Dice Estate.

William and Jennifer Carle, owners of Hawthorne Spring Farm at 1373 Lincoln Way East, once part of Dice's estate, led the vocal battle against Benderson Development's rezoning request.


Their property, which is near the proposed shopping center, is anchored by a 200-year-old house. The Carles said they raise horses on their property.

William Carle asked the supervisors to "draw a line in the sand. This is just about money and greed. It's spot zoning. Once you rezone, they get a foothold in the door and it's over."

He said the problems he has with the development, which he said is only 50 feet from his property line, are problems that his neighbors share as well.

Carle expressed concern about an underground aquifer that is a source for the Falling Spring stream.

Darrell Veilleux of Greencastle, Pa., speaking for the Chambersburg Rod and Gun Club, said he was worried that blasting during construction and heavy traffic generated by the shopping center would have an adverse effect on the stream which feeds the club's nursery and its 24,000 trout.

Kim Fiedler, spokesman for Benderson Development, said his company has a 50-year record of building quality projects in many states.

He said the shopping center will bring jobs and help the township's tax rate.

William Hymes of Fairway Drive in Fayetteville, Pa., said he sees no need for another shopping center. "My wife seems to do fine with what's here now," he said, drawing chuckles from the crowd.

"We have nice country living there now. Let's keep it that way," he said.

"When is enough enough?" asked Tom Linzey, a staff attorney with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. "We need more shopping malls like we need a hole in the head."

He told the supervisors had discretion on rezoning the land. He said his law firm would fight Benderson Development's plan at no charge.

"We urge you to make the right decision otherwise zoning is meaningless," Linzey told the supervisors. "Either hold the line or Guilford Township will become home to 100 mega malls."

Supervisors Chairman Greg Cook said there is "heavy development in all the towns around here and we get no help from Harrisburg to control it."

He asked his fellow supervisors to table the rezoning request for more study until their Aug. 18 meeting.

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