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Antrim supervisors vote against rezoning request for proposed warehouse site

June 11, 2008|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - The proposed site of a warehouse along Norfolk Southern Railroad in south Antrim Township might become yet another high-density housing development thanks to a unanimous vote by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, denying a landowner's request to zone the land for industrial use.

Landowner WCN Properties LC of Chambersburg, Pa., asked the board to rezone 35 of its 80 acres along Greenmount Road and Hykes Road near Jerr-Dan so it would have one contiguous plot of industrial land.

Ryan Johnston of WCN Properties said the company plans to develop the land whether it is residential or industrial, but that it would prefer to use the land for a warehouse.

Engineer Lance Kegerris of Dennis E. Black Engineering of Chambersburg said the company bought the former 80-acre farm in 2002 because of its proximity to the railroad.

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Kegerris said WCN hoped to build a 682,500-square-foot warehouse on the land that could take advantage of the railroad for the bulk of its distribution.

"Our interest in this site is exclusively related to the rail," he said. "WCN bought the land because of the railroad which borders the property."

Kegerris said that, if rezoned, WCN would submit plans for the warehouse that included improvements to Hykes Road and Greenmount Road for tractor-trailer use.

Dozens of residents who oppose the project attended the hearing Tuesday.

Many of the residents said their main concern was the volume of the large trucks that would funnel past their homes from I-81 on the way to the warehouse.

"Six major housing developments have been constructed within one mile of the proposed warehouse and these areas have many adults and children who use the roads," said Rhoda Kohler of Greenmount Road. "I am concerned about our safety with all these trucks."

Fred Reed of Creekwood Drive said he was concerned with noise.

"I moved here 2 and 1/2 years ago from an area where industry was encroaching on residential and while I got used to the noise of the train running past, I never got used to the idling of the trains," he said.

Solicitor John Lisko said many of the questions residents asked about truck traffic and noise were not relevant issues for the board to consider when debating whether or not to rezone the land.

Lisko said most of the problems raised were over a possible land use plan that had yet to be submitted.

"Rezoning is purely a matter of legislative discretion," he said. "You can reject this for any reason at all."

The board exercised its discretion with a unanimous vote to deny the request.

"I just don't want to see more industrial development in that area," supervisor James Byers said.

Johnston said if the request was denied, the company will likely develop the 35-acre piece into high-density residential housing and the 45-acre piece into a smaller industrial use.

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