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Deal clears way for liquor store in Wayne Heights Mall

June 19, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - An agreement has been reached that will allow a state liquor store to move into the Wayne Heights Mall on Pa. 16.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board will pay Washington Township, Pa., $1,000 a month for three years to satisfy its traffic impact fees; it will be excluded from submitting a land development plan.

The agreement between the township supervisors and mall owner came after several revisions by lawyers to both parties. Traffic impact fees are levied at $2,714 for each vehicle "created" on area roads by the business.

Township Manager Mike Christopher called the agreement a one-time deal and a "notice for all that, in the future, it's an upfront fee."

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Impact fees are assessed whenever business changes affect traffic volumes, Christopher said.

"It's about creating additional traffic trips," he said.

The fees, which totaled $27,000 for the liquor store, could have been avoided when the old liquor store closed in September 2006, township Solicitor John Lisko said.

"If they had told us they were moving, they could've carried the credits with them. ... Bottom line is: They left. They abandoned their impact fees," he said.

The mall was not aware the impact fees would be assessed and did not include them in the original lease agreement, according to Richard Butchok, an attorney speaking for the mall.

The store needs $200,000 of interior renovations over 90 days, but it should be excluded from the land development plans typically required under a leasehold, Butchok argued.

"It's not a new development. The shopping center has been there for a long time," he said, meeting the favor of the supervisors.

"We don't feel you need a land development plan because you're not changing the parking or storm water (management controls). Everything's on the interior of the building," Lisko said.

While in discussions with Butchok, the supervisors asked that left turns be prohibited from the mall's exit across from Barnett Avenue.

"We'd like to change that to right-turn only. It's dangerous turning left because of traffic," Supervisor Carroll Sturm said.

When Butchok shared confusion about which exit was the problematic one, the supervisors provided directions, suggested he try to turn left there and wished him luck.

The attorney asked that they submit a request in writing.

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