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Fireworks store request shot down in Antrim Township

July 26, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER / Staff correspondent

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Antrim Township supervisors unanimously voted Tuesday not to approve plans for a Sky King Fireworks retail store along Mason Dixon Road in State Line, Pa.

The vote followed discussion over unmet easement requirements, and safety and sales concerns by neighbors.

According to Antrim Township Supervisor Scott Diffenderfer, the proposed plan did not meet the easement requirement for stormwater management. The township ordinance required the property have a 25-foot easement to manage stormwater. The plan proposed by Sky King included a 16-foot easement.

Saying that the potential owners had not addressed this issue, supervisors said that approval of a lesser easement was needed by neighbors, as well as the board.

Mark Donaldson, adjoining property owner, said that he would not approve the 16-foot easement proposed by Sky King Fireworks, citing previous loss of property and money to storm damage.

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Mark Silver, an attorney representing Sky King Fireworks, said his client offered to decrease the size of his building to meet the easement requirement and requested a 60-day extension to address the concerns of the township.

Neighbors mostly voiced concern over the sale of fireworks and the safety of the proposed store.

Silver said Pennsylvania has stringent restrictions on the types of fireworks that may be purchased by state residents, yet allows for broader sale of fireworks to out-of-state customers. Neighbors were concerned over the ability of the store to regulate the purchase of illegal fireworks by state residents.

According to Joe VanOudenhove, potential owner of the Sky King store in State Line, if built, the store would uphold the state regulations by only permitting state residents to shop at their outdoor tent during peak season.

Only out-of-state customers would be permitted into the store, he said.

Many neighbors also wanted to know about the safety of the store in case of a fire. According to Silver, if permitted, his client would build the structure with concrete walls and floors and a sprinkler system to ensure fire safety.

VanOudenhove pointed out that in the worst-case scenario of a fire, the store would not explode, but rather just burn.

Residents were skeptical of the plan's proposed fire precautions.

"If fireworks don't blow up, then I don't know what that bang is in the air," Donaldson said.

VanOudenhove assured safety, stating that Sky King Fireworks has never had a fire at any of its other 15 stores.

Silver added, "He's never had a fire."

Sky King Fireworks is able to appeal the decision of the board.

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