Couple - Zoning change would prompt appeal

August 18, 2005|by DON AINES


A Guilford Township couple says they will take the township board of supervisors to court if it votes tonight to rezone 13.7 acres of land adjacent to their property from residential to commercial for the development of a shopping mall.

"They're going to have an appeal land right on their doorstep," William Carle said Tuesday.

Carle and his wife, Jennifer, own Hawthorne Spring Farm at 1373 Lincoln Way East. Part of the residential acreage to be rezoned is southeast of their property and north of an area fronting Lincoln Way East that already is zoned for commercial use.

Although the lane leading from the highway to their farm is more than 1,000 feet long, Carle said commercial development of the land "will bring U.S. 30 within 50 feet of my house."


Benderson Development Co. Inc. of University Park, Fla., has requested the rezoning of the land for a shopping center that will include a Home Depot. A conceptual plan for the proposed rezoning shows a truck turnaround behind a store that would be built to the east of the Carle's property line, Carle said.

If the shopping center is developed as the conceptual plan indicates, Carle said it will result in excessive lights and noise for them and other nearby homes, increased traffic along U.S. 30 and possible environmental problems in the Falling Spring.

Carle said he has had discussions with a Benderson official about a sound wall, trees and other types of screening, but "There's nothing they have offered us in writing that would satisfy us."

The shopping center could be moved closer to U.S. 30 if Benderson bought the properties along the highway, many of which are for sale and already zoned commercial, Carle said.

The Carles said they have hired Chambersburg attorney Thomas Finucane to represent them in an appeal if the board of supervisors approves the rezoning.

"If you have a peninsula of land pushing into an area ... rezoning it to favor one landowner can be interpreted by the courts to be an improper zoning," Finucane said this week.

About 50 people, several of whom spoke against the proposal, attended the July 21 meeting of the board of supervisors. The issue was tabled at that time to allow further review.

The Franklin County Planning Department reviewed the proposed amendment to the township zoning ordinance and in a July 21 letter to the township stated the department "found that it is generally inconsistent with the county's future land use map. However, we recognize that it would be an expansion of an existing commercial area."

The department letter suggested the expansion "be only as much as necessary for the project in question." The department recommended in the letter that "the township require the developer to ensure that there will be no impact on the Falling Spring Creek" and "that adequate buffers be established between the proposed commercial area and the residential area that abuts this property."

Carle said a spring on their land that feeds into the Falling Spring is close to the property proposed for rezoning and that blasting and excavation could interrupt its flow or pollute the spring. The spring is the water supply for the horses they raise on the 26-acre farm, he said.

Zoning issues are the responsibility of townships and boroughs, county Planning Director Phil Tarquino said. His department can only make recommendations to municipalities on development issues, he said.

Greg Cook, chairman of the Guilford Township Board of Supervisors said Wednesday he would not discuss the rezoning proposal prior to tonight's meeting. He did say the proposal to amend the zoning ordinance does not come with a land development plan, which details how a property is to be developed.

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