Washington Township Supervisors cool to hiker-hostel proposal

August 10, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH |

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Citing concerns about the location and users, the Washington Township (Pa.) Supervisors said Wednesday they will not change their zoning ordinance to accommodate a man who wants to open a hostel for Appalachian Trail hikers.

Lawrence "Bogator" Pitt asked to create a hostel at his property in the 11000 block of Mentzer Gap Road, according to a memorandum prepared by township staff.

Pitt would like to build onto the existing home or build a few cabins, the memo said.

The proposal does not fit into existing zoning regulations for R1 (low-density residential) districts, Township Solicitor John Lisko said in his own memo.

The zoning regulations could be changed to establish "hikers' camps" as a conditional use in R1, Lisko wrote.

The township supervisors said at their Wednesday meeting they're not interested in making the zoning change.

"I'm concerned about it being abused," Supervisors Chairman Stephen Kulla said.

Although Pitt offered to transport hikers, some of the supervisors said they're concerned the affected property is not close enough to the trail. They also said the cabins could go against the neighborhood feel of that area.

"How is this helping the area? It's not bringing money into the community," Kulla said.

Supervisor John Gorman said the idea too closely resembles a traditional, commercial camp.

"I like the concept, but I think this is a little too broad," he said.

Kulla also expressed concerns about "transient people" utilizing the facilities.

"I think there's more risk than gain for the community," he said.

"I don't know the hikers are all that (much) trouble. The thing is he's wanting to put a little village down there," Supervisor Carroll Sturm said.

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