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Zoning panel backs Keystone Health Center plan

April 07, 2010|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Growth is likely to continue in the Norland Avenue area this year with Keystone Health Center proposing to consolidate and expand its services near the 5th Avenue intersection.

The Chambersburg Borough Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the expansion plans Tuesday evening.

Keystone Health Center President and CEO Joanne Cochran said the plan was motivated by the growing number of people using Keystone Health's service.

Plans include adding a two-story, 26,199-square-foot building to Keystone's property at the corner of Norland Avenue and 5th Avenue.

Once the addition is built, Keystone Health plans to open a new urgent care center and a new pharmacy at the location, Cochran said.

Keystone Health also will consolidate its existing services, presently available at 757 and 755 Norland Avenue, to the 5.6 acre campus.

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These services include Franklin County Pediatrics, Keystone Internal Medicine and Keystone Women's Care, Cochran said.

While the planning and zoning commission had little problem with the plans, it was concerned with the traffic impact of consolidating and expanding services at the site.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Phil Wolgemuth said borough staff recommended that Keystone Health pay to have a traffic impact study completed in the immediate area of the development.

With traffic impact studies coming at a premium price, Commissioner Gary Dougal suggested that the better route might be for the borough to authorize a study of the entire Walker Road and Norland Avenue area.

"I think a traffic impact study should be completed," he said. "My idea is to have an impact study done of the whole area."

On Walker Road, it was suggested that the borough study the area from the Lincoln Way East and Walker Road intersection, to the Walker Road and Interstate 81 intersection. On Norland Avenue, the commissioners suggested the study encompass from the Walker Road and Norland Avenue intersection to the Norland Avenue and Edgar Avenue intersection.

Engineer William A Brindle, owner of William A Brindle Associates Inc. in Chambersburg, suggested that Keystone Health pay a fee that would go toward a larger study in lieu of conducting its own study.

Commissioner Michael Boryan ultimately made the recommendation to approve the plan, adding a condition that a fee, instead of the traffic study, be assessed.

The commission also recommended that the council conduct the larger traffic impact study within the coming 18 months.

In addition to the Keystone Health expansion, the commission recommended that the borough council approve a parking expansion for Chambersburg Hospital.

Three houses on 7th Street would be demolished to make way for the 90-space parking lot.

Mostly hospital employees would use the parking lot, said Wolgemuth.

The lot would be accessible by an alleyway that connects to King Street, he said.

Wolgemuth said the parking lot is likely a preliminary step on the hospital's part to prepare for expanding its facilities.

All recommendations will go before the borough council for approval.

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