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Plot for retail approved for relief route

February 06, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A rezoning request unanimously approved in Washington Township, Pa., on Monday enlarges a commercial plot along the municipality's $14.3 million relief route.

The request from Michael Knepper and Countywide Developers was made after officials shifted the surveyed path of Washington Township Boulevard, creating a 250-foot-wide strip of residential land between the road and commercial property.

With that strip of residential acreage now commercially zoned, new businesses can front Washington Township Boulevard from the south side of Tomstown Road.

The supervisors briefly debated the merits of commercial zones on Washington Township Boulevard beyond Rouzerville Commons, saying the one-time intent of the township planning commission was to keep commercial properties off the relief route.

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Supervisor John Gorman said the commercial property is logical in mixed-use planning.

"It makes a lot of sense to combine commercial in one area as much as possible," he said.

Residents at the meeting theorized about what businesses could build at the site and lamented the loss of open space. Comments from neighboring farmer Haydee Middour elicited applause from the public in attendance.

She asked that the developer and supervisors turn onto Tomstown Road and "look with your heart, with your soul and not just with dollar signs" when they finalize plans for approximately 230 homes proposed by the developer nearby.

"It's a feast for the eyes when you see the fields and the little village of Tomstown running up to South Mountain," Middour said.

The rural and pastoral features of the community are what draw new homeowners to the area, Middour said.

"I'm certainly not looking forward to a development going next to our farm, but I recognize the inevitability of it," Middour said.

The supervisors also made adaptations to another development along Washington Township Boulevard when they abandoned plans to build "New Stottlemyer Road" between Gehr Road and Strite's Garage.

Traffic engineers found that only 5 percent of traffic from Farm Spring Estates would use the short section of road, Township Manager Mike Christopher said.

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