DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY LOWER ALLEN TOWNSHIP
REGULAR MEETING NOVEMBER 18, 2019
The following were in ATTENDANCE:
AUTHORITY MEMBERS TOWNSHIP PERSONNEL
Max Stoner, Chairman Erin Trone, Township Assistant Manager
Peddrick Young, Vice Chairman Mary Ellen Banks, Recording Secretary
John Eby, Treasurer Steven Miner, Solicitor
Salvatore F. Marone, Treasurer
Max Stoner, Chairman called the meeting of the Lower Allen Township Development Authority to order at 6:00pm and announced Proof of Publication was available for review.
PUBLIC COMMENT: SEE BELOW.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF OCTOBER 21, 2019
Mr. BLACK made a motion to approve the minutes of the October 21, 2019 meeting. Mr. MARONE seconded the motion. Motion carried, 4-0 with Mr. Eby abstaining since he was not present.
ACTION: AUTHORIZE SUPPORT LETTER FOR PENNDOT MULTIMODAL APPLICATION
Mrs. Trone explained to the Board this letter is in support of the Lower and Upper Allen pedestrian bridge project that would connect the Orchard Glen neighborhood in Upper Allen to the Arcona neighborhood in Lower Allen. Mr. EBY made a motion to authorize the support letter for Penn Dot multimodal application. Mr. MARONE seconded the motion. Motion carried, 5-0
ACTION: APPROVAL OF TESTIMONY FOR REDEVELOPMENT OF 1500 AND 1510 CEDAR CLIFF DRIVE
Mr. Eby explained the procedural background stating the zoning hearing has been postponed a number of times because of citizens concerns that are being reviewed by Sheetz representatives. The zoning hearing board is scheduled to convene this Thursday @ 7:00pm. Should the relief be granted as requested, this will enable Sheetz to move ahead with a land development and sub-division plan to combine the two lots. The Planning Commission meeting scheduled for tomorrow night does not have this on their agenda.
Mrs. Trone explained because the Sheetz plan is a redevelopment plan and since this Authority is to support responsible redevelopment, she asked the Board to consider providing testimony at the Zoning Hearing Board meeting on Thursday and she is asking if so, what that testimony should consist of. She also explained more about the Board’s responsibility given to them by the 2018 Comprehensive Plan to ensure some ordinances are not inhibiting growth and redevelopment. Sheetz is asking for relief from the maximum use area limitations, the number of fuel stations and the special exception to reduce required parking spaces in the C-1 neighborhood commercial zoning district. She also stated they had a meeting with approximately five adjacent property owners on July 15th and 17th and their consensus was they are interested in having Sheetz develop the property; they feel this will improve their security due to being 24-hour operation, and they are encouraged about the improved lighting. She explained the C-1 neighborhood commercial ordinance further and items for consideration.
Mr. Eby made a point of disclosure that he also stated in a prior meeting he is the Chief Zoning Officer and that he is also a Township resident and was appointed to this board by the Township Commissioners, so he will not take part in the zoning planning review for the Sheetz Development although he feels he can separate these roles and he has neither personal or professional benefit whether this Sheetz redevelopment gets approved or not; he will refrain from official zoning officer on this plan so he can participate in the Development Authority deliberation on this matter.
Mr. Black stated that as a Board of Commissioner he will have to vote on this plan; therefore he will not participate in this vote with the Development Authority Board. Mr. Young agreed with this also as a Board of Commissioner.
Discussion ensued on the Sheetz redevelopment plan, ordinances, variances requested, etc. by Mr. Eby. Mrs. Trone explained the narrative given to the Board was just a beginning and the Board needs to make a decision on exactly what they want this to say. As it was decided at the prior meeting, Mr. Marone had volunteered to give this testimony. Mr. Stoner stated he felt it was important for this Board to provide input into this process and it would be remiss if they did not do so. Mr. Marone stated there is limited scope this authority is responsible for and there may be certain pieces of information, facts or perspectives that they should not comment on; however, he stated they would be shirking their responsibility if they do not provide the various other authorities with this Board’s information and background perspectives on economic development.
Mr. MARONE made a motion to accept the testimony as drafted and presented here. Mr. EBY seconded the motion.
Michelle Tarquino, 304 Fieldstone Road, Camp Hill, PA discussed various issues on the municipal planning code which specifically states what the zoning hearing board might need to be so there are no hardships. She stated approving exceptions and specific codes for proposed development not only goes against the municipal planning code, against the township Commissioners objectives, and against Cumberland County’s vision for the future. She also feels it impacts the State’s safety performance measures.
She discussed concerns with the traffic study, the plan on the entrance and exits of the property, and the reduction of the parking. She is questioning the Board as to what is the hardship, why can you not require Sheetz to build a structure within the zoning ordinance as it currently stands?
Solicitor Miner stated he did not want to speak for the Board; however, that is the applicant’s burden of proof, if this Board supports the concept, it is still up to the applicant to meet all the terms of the zoning criteria. He also stated he understands this group of objectors already has council and they are working thru this with the Sheetz developer. Ms. Tarquino also discussed this unique interchange and the safety of the area. She does not think Sheetz is the issue, it is the location.
Dr. Barry Moore commented about his concerns with the schools in the area and the children walking to and from school. He reviewed the traffic study for the Board and the safety of the children and convenience of residents with the traffic lights, etc.
Mr. Eby did respond to Dr. Moore that he shares all his concerns; however, the Board’s scope of consideration here is very narrow. This Board can qualify their support upon Sheetz providing the testimony consistent with the exhibits; we have a fiduciary responsibility to carry out the mission of the Development Authority and the assignments of the comprehensive plan which are to look at the impediments of redevelopment and this is a redevelopment site. He stated, the Board is not doing policy changes to change the planning or zoning; however, the applicant has the right to ask for a variance. The concerns discussed here will be addressed in the planning commission review. He stated also that the Board of Commissioners of Lower Allen Township does not negotiate with developers, they go by the book and if a developer is required to do something there is consideration of an application for a waiver, however, all negotiations are above-board. Mr. Eby also added that Interstate 83 and Carlisle Road are Penn Dot roads and the existing cross walk issues right now for the children coming from New Cumberland whether this is approved or not will not change this.
Dr. Moore stated his final point was in April Sheetz published that within eighteen months they would be selling alcohol in all of their stores.
Ms. Tarquino stated that Carlisle Road is a State Road; however, Penn Dot does not maintain sidewalks nor are they responsible for access points.
The above motion that was made and seconded, carried, 3-0 with Mr. Black and Mr. Young recusing since they are on the Board of Commissioners and will vote when it comes before them there.
DISCUSSION: BON-TON PROJECT BUDGET
Mrs. Trone stated this is only the project cost; the estimated revenue portion of the budget will be presented to you at the December 16th meeting. She will also be providing what has been spent to-date on this project. Discussion ensued.
ADDITIONAL PUBLIC COMMENT/QUESTION: Betsy Metz, asked if they would be able to receive a copy of the talking points for the Sheetz project discussed in this meeting and that will be presented to the Zoning Hearing Board. Solicitor Miner stated since it is now part of the public record, this will be possible; however, he asked her to file a Right-to-know request for this information and she agreed to do so.
NEXT MEETING OF THE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
The next meeting of the Development Authority is scheduled for Monday, December 16, 2019 at 6:00pm.
Mr. EBY made a motion to adjourn. Mr. MARONE seconded the motion. Motion carried, 5-0.