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Zoning changes could affect Waynesboro area property values, planners say

November 28, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Pending changes to zoning maps in the Borough of Waynesboro and Washington Township, Pa., could affect property values, officials said Tuesday.

Planning commission members from both municipalities held their monthly meeting with Spotts, Stevens and McCoy of Reading, Pa., an engineering firm developing a joint comprehensive plan for their future.

The firm's latest presentations have included maps for land use, zoning, pedestrian/bicycle paths, community facilities and transportation.

Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger said the land use and zoning maps likely will be the most controversial ones because they will guide where industrial, residential and commercial buildings are constructed in the future.

"When you're doing future land mapping, there will be people impacted more than others. ... When we go to a hearing, we'll get more comments on the land use mapping than anything," he said.

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The Washington Township Planning Commission recently hosted a meeting with Spotts, Stevens and McCoy, and planner Elena Kehoe criticized the resulting map for not looking to the future well enough.

"I think it's a mistake to (only) think about what's there and what we're going to face at the next planning commission meeting or supervisors meeting," she said Tuesday night.

There were reservations about proposing changes that could affect land values, Kehoe said.

"If we want to encourage commercial growth in a (currently) zoned agricultural area, that's going to make that agricultural land more valuable than other agricultural land," she said.

The result was that little zoning changes were proposed in the township, Kehoe said.

Stephen Monn, a member of the Waynesboro Planning Commission, said he had a problem with the engineers reducing the amount of industrially zoned land in the borough, even if they were drawing maps to reflect today's nonconforming uses in that zone.

"Every chunk of industrial zone you give up in the borough, you'll never get back," Monn said, specifically pointing to the industrial zone around Frick Co.

Spotts, Stevens and McCoy further emphasized Tuesday that the borough and/or township should acquire the Pennsylvania National Guard armory on Pa. 316. A replacement armory is in development for South Mountain, Pa.

Hamberger said he has been told there is no way the armory will be donated for municipal use.

"It'll be sold to the highest bidder," he said.

Township Manager Mike Christopher said that shouldn't stop the municipalities from doing everything they can to obtain the facility.

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