Warehouse Woes

I attended tonight’s Planning Commission meeting and I write this post while reeling in disbelief at the incompetence of our local township government.

Two Conditional Use Applications (CUA) are on the table.

  • One for a Convenience Store with a Fueling Facility to be built on the site where PennDOT currently has their base set up for the I-78 project. The attorney for Harmike Investments had a very clear and concise presentation of why their project meets all the conditional use requirements of our ordinances.  I am happy to say that the PC approved their CUA and they will be heard again at the BoS meeting on April 2nd, 2018.
  • Two for a Private Membership/Country Club. Premise, current land owner wants to restore his barn for the use of friends and colleagues who participate in a common hobby of Home Brewing.  The entirety of their presentation took 45 minutes and the presentation wavered between “our ordinances do not define” “Country Club” although it kinda does as it refers to a section 503.14 about Golf Clubs and “is a membership club a commercial land use”  The attorney representing the land owner did a good job of staying on point.  Our PC members did believe that their intent was rural but that their presentation said membership club and with the use of two different purposes on the property (personal home and a club in the barn) that changes the way the property needs to be zoned.  Within the law guidelines, that meant that the land owner would need to be heard before the Zoning Board for a special exception, or at the very least a zoning variance … and here’s where things get hysterical.  For 15 minutes, the PC members argued with each other, and were advised by the solicitor, over how to make to motion to recommend to the BoS that the CUA needs to be heard before the Zoning Board … so their final motion?  Because they couldn’t agree on any one point, they made a motion to make no decision and let the BoS make the decision.

(insert circus clown music here)

Okay.  Now, when I arrived at the meeting, I – to my great surprise – found that I was listed on the agenda.  Interesting, as I had not asked to be on the agenda and no-one from the township had informed me that I was to be on the agenda.  Good thing I went to the meeting tonight!

Why am I on the agenda?  Because at the December 2017 BoS meeting, I stood up for the township residents and asked the township to make some changes to some ordinances to prevent an oversized warehouse to be shoehorned onto a small property.  Specifically, we don’t have a township fire code, so let’s adopt one.  Why don’t we have limits to the size of an industrial building based on acreage. And hey, why aren’t all our ordinances in one manual so we don’t have the confusions we had of the developer looking at a 2009 ordinance while our solicitor is looking at the 2014 updated version of that same ordinance.

To make sure the BoS actually heard our verbal request, we presented the five requesst in writing at the January BoS meeting.  Victor said, “I need more information” so I gave them the seven sheets of paper I had with me, detailing the 2015 ICC Fire Code Appendix D, the two municipalities that limit “I” zoning buildings to (1) 1,000 sq feet per usable acre and (2) 800 sq feet per usable acre and then after that meeting, I sent an email to Dan, per his request, with the Fire Code and links to the municipalities zoning.  I also made a request to know what are the “special exceptions” for building a warehouse in the industrial zones and I was told that information would be provided to me. We also made a request to adopt a weed ordinance ( to prevent the horrible overgrown mares tail weed that occurred this past summer, infecting adjacent farm properties – and to cover the damage at one particular home where the grass was never mowed and the weeds were infecting the neighboring home lawns) and lastly, can we please have our ordinances and our SALDO updated into one manual for easy access on-line.

Alex addressed all these above items, all the while listing out how we had miscommunication and they (the BoS and solicitor) were waiting on US to provide them more information and that is why they have not made any movement in reviewing our request.

sigh

And while they sat on their thumbs since our initial request in December 2017, and didn’t look into making these ordinance changes, the warehouse developer has submitted new plans four months later in March 2018.

THAT’S RIGHT.  New planshave been submitted by JVI, under the current old ordinances, and while their old warehouse plans are in litigation in the courts. At this time we do not know what the new plans are designing.  Be it a warehouse, a manufacturing plant or a commercial farm.  All we were told is that they have submitted new plans.

We are most likely going to have a warehouse in Krumsville.  WHY? Because our local government is slower than molasses, more stubborn than a mule, and still living in 1970 with pen and paper. I so desperately wanted to get on that board of supervisors so I could be active in pursuing the things we needed to get into place to preserve our township, protect our residents and provide current modern thinking.

Alex did provide me with the “two special exceptions” that will allow a warehouse.  One is a tract of land of 25 continuous acres (but of course we do not have ordinances to limit the size of a warehouse on that 25 acres, although Alex says we do, and he will give me that information at the BoS meeting on April 2nd) and two they have to meet the conditions of the current ordinances. (which are way out of date, not up to current technology, and do not address resident safety and health issues based on the new dangers of the 2000’s – like air and noise pollution)

I am very sad tonight. We fought very hard for a year to prove to the township that the warehouse was dangerous, it would pose health hazards and it would impose serious traffic safety issue through the tiny intersection of Old 22 and Rt 737 .  We provided them reams of paper – copies of reports and statistics and research – and they have ignored everything. They have not made a single change to our current ordinances to prevent these dangers, safety concerns and health hazards of constructing a 500,000 sq ft warehouse built on that parcel of property.

We are going to get a warehouse and someone is going to die in the Krumsville Intersection and residents in Krumsville will eventually lose their minds as the truck traffic destroys their home foundations, tears up the roadways, makes it impossible to have a conversation due to the noise levels, prevents them from hanging laundry on the lines or leaving windows open for fresh air – because there will be no more fresh air, just air polluted by traffic dust and diesel fumes.

Board of Directors meeting April 2nd.

 

Comments are closed.