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Zoning change allows Crosswalk Church to move

Washington Township (Pa.) Supervisors rezoned the former Tri Fab Inc. property

February 22, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — The Washington Township (Pa.) Supervisors rezoned land Wednesday to clear the way for Crosswalk Church to move to Midvale Road.

The supervisors rezoned the former Tri Fab Inc. property, which is 6.61 acres, from industrial to agricultural. Churches are permitted uses in agricultural zones, but not industrial ones.

The building will give the church 35,000 square feet, compared to the 14,000 square feet it has in the Gold’s Gym complex at 118 Walnut St.

“We plan on staying there. We plan to renovate it,” said Craig Bailey, who answered the supervisors’ questions about the church’s plan.

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Up to 600 people attend the church in an average week, Bailey said.

The current facility often proves to be too small for the crowd, said Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., resident Alison Minnick.

“I feel really welcomed there,” said Minnick, who attends the church.

The property, which is between Homes by Keystone and Baumgardner Lane, abuts agriculturally zoned land to the south.

Neighbor Robert Lourdon said he supported the rezoning.

“That would be a nice addition to the community. ... I think it would be a good idea,” he said.

The township planning commission recommended the rezoning after debating the loss of industrial land. It decided the church would benefit the community, noted the building has been vacant, and commented that there are available industrial properties elsewhere, including the Wharf Road Industrial Park, Solicitor John Lisko said.

“They had a good discussion about it,” he said.

Supervisor Stephen Kulla questioned the impact on tax revenue when rezoning an industrial property to agricultural. Also, churches are property-tax exempt entities in Pennsylvania.

“We’re losing more than $14,000 (a year) in taxes by doing this,” Kulla said.

Kulla said his concern was if the church abandoned the property in the future, it would be more difficult for an industrial tenant to move to an agriculturally zoned property.

The supervisors voted 3-0 to approve the rezoning, with Kulla, William Conrad and Jeff Geesaman voting in favor. Supervisors Elaine Gladhill and Dick McCracken were absent from the meeting.

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