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Pa. planning commission to recommend permit for Capital Camps

August 08, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Washington Township (Pa.) Planning Commission members decided Monday they will recommend that the township supervisors grant a conditional-use permit to Capital Camps & Retreat Center.

The camp’s parent organization wants to build a new retreat center with 42 overnight rooms off Pa. 16. To do so, it needs a conditional-use permit authorized by the township supervisors because the land is zoned forest conservation.

The planning commission voted 4-1 to recommend the supervisors grant the permit without attaching conditions.

Planning Commission Chairman Christopher Firme voted against the motion. He told the other planners they could attach a condition limiting amplified noise, possibly after a set time at night.

Janet Schneider of Old Route 16 expressed concerns about camp noise to the planning commission and supervisors. She said she called the police July 20, as she has done before.

“It’s still loud enough we can hear it in the house. ... We’re asking for a reasonable cutoff time for the noise at night,” Schneider said.

David Phillips, Capital Camps’ president and CEO, said the camp has never been cited or fined for noise. He said large groups renting facilities are instructed to behave appropriately.

“Our staff is there 24/7. We monitor the noise,” he said.

At a previous meeting, Phillips said Capital Camps today can host 300 to 400 people for retreats or conferences. He said the new facility would be used to better accommodate adults whose organizations, churches, temples or schools hold large-group events.

On Monday, planning commission member Kyle Hess said he thinks any noise issue would be a separate matter from the building itself.

“This noise complaint really has nothing to do with the new retreat center being built,” he said.

The supervisors are expected to consider the Capital Camps request Monday.

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