Greenwich Twp Ordinances

(see full documents here)

ARTICLE VIII
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
Section 802.
PROHIBITED NUISANCES
No land or structures in any Zoning District shall be used or occupied in any manner that creates any nuisance in such manner or in such amount as to adversely affect the reasonable use or value of the surrounding area or adjoining premises or be dangerous to public health or safety.

Let’s start with this. 

(1) A 40 bay warehouse will put heavy tractor trailer traffic through the historical town of Krumsville from I-78, onto Route 737, across Old Route 22.  This is the intersection that is supposed to “safely” handle approximately 40-60 tractor trailer trucks per day.

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(2) The heavy tractor trailer traffic will create dust, diesel fumes, and noise.  This will affect the “health and living conditions” of the 30 homes and their residents along the proposed route into and out of the warehouse.

(3) There are many small children residing in the 30 homes along the proposed route into and out of the warehouse.  The heavy tractor trailer traffic will create a very dangerous circumstance to those children and their homes.

Section 1004.
CONDITIONAL USES
Wherever this Ordinance provides for Conditional Uses to be granted or denied by the Board of Supervisors of Greenwich Township, the procedures set forth in this §1004 shall be the exclusive mode for securing authorization for or approval of any such conditional use. The Board of Supervisors shall give consideration to all applications for Conditional Uses in accordance with these provisions.

A. Application

B.Review by the Greenwich Township Planning Commission

  1. (nothing in the ordinances)
  2. The Board of Supervisors shall make at least two (2) copies of the Planning Commission’s report available for public inspection at the Township Building within five (5) days of their receipt of said report. The reports shall remain available for public inspection during the posted hours of operation of the Township Building until a final decision has been rendered on the application by the Board of Supervisors.

C.Conduct of hearings.

  1. Within five (5) business days of the receipt of a complete application for Conditional Use, including all fees, the Board of Supervisors shall give the first of two (2) written public notices of the receipt of such application The written public notice shall include, but need not be limited to, the following information:
    a. The identity of the applicant for Conditional Use.
    b. The specific type of use applied for.
    c. The location of the proposed Conditional Use.
    Such written public notice shall be published once a week for at least two (2) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in Greenwich Township.
  2. The Board of Supervisors shall schedule a public hearing to obtain input on the application from all interested parties. Such public hearing shall be held within sixty (60) days of Township receipt of the application. A written notice announcing the public hearing shall be published two (2) weeks prior to said hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in Greenwich Township.
    We will need to stay informed via the internet (because I have not subscribed to a newspaper for over two years) to know when this public hearing will be announced.  I think this ordinance needs to be updated to include internet social media and their website for announcements.  Make a note to discuss this at the Board of Supervisors meeting.
  3.  The Board of Supervisors shall give written notice of any public hearing to the applicant, to the Zoning Officer, and to any person who has made a timely request for such notice.
  4.  The parties to the public hearing shall be the applicant, any person affected by the application who has made a timely appearance of record before the Board of Supervisors,  and any other person (including civic or community organizations) who has made a timely appearance of record before the Board of Supervisors. The  Board shall have the power to require that all persons who wish to be considered parties enter appearances in writing on forms supplied by the Board for such purpose.
    In order for our grievance to be heard and made public record is by filing it in writing.  I propose we all fill out the linked complaint form, listing the reasons why a distribution warehouse in our community is a terrible idea, use the ordinances as a guideline, and attend the April 3rd meeting with our written complaints in hand.  http://www.co.berks.pa.us/Muni/Greenwich/Documents/complaint_form.pdf
  5. The parties shall have the right to be represented by counsel and shall be afforded the opportunity to present evidence and argument and to cross-examine witnesses on all relevant issues.
  6. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply; however, irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly repetitious evidence may be excluded.
  7.  The Board shall keep a stenographic record of the proceedings. A transcript of the proceedings and copies of graphic or written material received in evidence shall be made available to any party at cost.

D. Decision by the Board of Supervisors.

  1. The Board of Supervisors shall render a written decision upon applications for conditional use within sixty (60) days of the last public hearing before the Board. In authorizing or approving any such conditional use, the Board of Supervisors shall have the power to attach such reasonable conditions and safeguards as it may deem necessary to implement the purpose of this Ordinance or to support the purpose of the district within which the conditional use is or will be located.
  2. Where the application is contested or denied, the written decision shall be accompanied by findings of fact and conclusions based thereon, together with the reasons therefor. Conclusions based upon any provision of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code or upon any ordinance, rule, or regulation of the Township shall contain a reference to the provision relied upon and the reasons why the conclusion is deemed appropriate in light of the facts found. Here is where we will be kept informed, without having to go begging for information, but only if we file in writing our complaint, grievance and do it in a publicly recorded forum.
  3. Where the Board of Supervisors has power to render a decision and fails to do so within the period required here above, the decision shall be deemed to have been rendered in favor of the applicant, unless the applicant has agreed in writing to an extension of time.
  4. A copy of the written decision shall be delivered to the applicant personally or mailed to him postmarked not later than the business day next following the date of the decision. To all other persons who have filed their names and addresses with the Board of Supervisors not later than the date of the last public hearing, the Board shall provide, by mail or otherwise, brief notice of the decision and a statement indicating where the full decision may be examined. Nothing in this sub-section shall prejudice the right of any party opposing the application to urge that the decision of the Board of Supervisors is erroneous. X-7
  5. Nothing in this sub-section shall prejudice the right of any party opposing the application to urge that the decision of the Board of Supervisors is erroneous.
     

E: General Standards; In considering applications for conditional use, the Board of Supervisors shall:

1. Assure itself that the proposed use is consistent with the spirit, purpose, and intent of this ordinance and of the zoning district within which it is located;

(1) SPIRIT OF OUR COMMUNITY: An old historical village of small family owned businesses. 

(2) THE PURPOSE AND INTENT: This parcel of land was originally zoned commercial and the zoning was changed sometime after 2003 to allow it to become industrial.  A 500,000 square foot warehouse has no business being right across from our local historical church and smack in the middle of our small village of residents and family owned businesses.

2. Determine that the proposed use will not substantially injure or detract from the use of neighboring properties or from the character of the neighborhood, and the properties adjacent to the proposed use are adequately safeguarded;

(1) This question was asked at the meeting and the attorney deftly sidestepped the question, not once but twice.  Upon a third asking the attorney answered with a question, “Why do you think the township is responsible for any damage to your property from tractor trailer traffic?”  Well, here ya go – because the township promises we will be safeguarded.

3. Determine that the proposed use will serve the best interests of the township, the convenience of the community, and the public health, safety, and welfare;

(1) This 500,000 warehouse will not be serving our community at all.  It will generate jobs within the warehouse, which will mostly come from outside Greenwich Township, but it will not generate any more income within the township as there are no facilities to accomodate the increased traffic of the warehouse tractor trailers.

4. Consider the effect of the proposed use upon the logical, efficient, and economical extension of public services and facilities;

(1) Public Services and Facilities.  There are none in Krumsville.  And there is not any room for tractor trailers to que while waiting for their appointment to enter the facility.  The closest Truck Stop is The Bandit at exit 45 in New Smithville, will this put the tractor trailer running up and down Old 22 between New Smithville and Krumsville?

5. Consider the social, environmental, and economic impact of the proposed use against logical alternatives;

(1) Social impact.  It will no longer be safe to walk our dogs and children along the proposed routes into and out of the warehouse due to heavy tractor trailer traffic and the dangers imposed on the roads by that traffic. neighbors will no longer be safe to walk to our local Dietrich Market or walk to their neighbors home for a social visit or walk to the Krumsville Inn for supper and a beer with friends.

(2) Environmental impact.  Dust, diesel fumes, ground vibrations and increased noise levels will negatively impact our local wildlife.  Along the route into and out of the ware house are families of deer, two known varieties of owls, grouse, foxes, rabbits, squirrels, numerous and various song birds, field buzzards, chipmunks, a known family of porcupine, ground hogs, numerous and various snakes.  AND, the dust, diesel fumes, ground vibrations and increased noise levels will affect the structures of the historical homes and businesses along the route (mention our home, built in 1872, The Krumsville Inn, The Antique Store (formerly the post office and general store of Krumsville) and do more research on the historic value of other homes in Krumsville)

(3) Economic impact.  Prove out the loss of property value in other areas like New Smithville and Fogelsville where warehousing was brought in and local homes were devalued.

6. Be guided in its study, review, and recommendation by sound standards of land development practice, where applicable;

(1) Section 806.2 No natural waterway shall be compromised by construction or development.  This parcel of land has a small creek and a natural waterway runoff.  Covering the parcel of land with macadam for parking and a 500,000 square foot building is most certainly going to damage the local waterway.

7.Guide the development of state and local highway frontage to limit the total number of access points, encouraging the placement of access to buildings on roads perpendicular to major highways;

8. Impose such conditions, in addition to those required, as are necessary to assure compliance with the general purpose and intent of this Ordinance, which shall include, but not necessarily be limited to the harmonious design of buildings, provision of plantings and the maintenance of same as a visual and/or aural barrier, and the minimization of noxious, offensive , or hazardous elements; and

9.Weigh each case on its own merits separately, based upon pertinent information presented to or otherwise known to the Board, without regard to any previous case but giving full application to all Township Ordinances.

Section 1103.
HEARINGS
A.All appeals, challenges, and any other applications for hearing to the Board shall be in writing on forms prescribed by the Board. Every such application for hearing shall refer to the specific provision of this Ordinance involved and shall exactly set forth the interpretation that is claimed, the grounds for any challenges to the validity of this Ordinance, the use for which a special exception is sought, or the details of the variance that is applied for and the grounds on which it is claimed that the variance should be granted, as the case may be.

We have only a COMPLAINT FORM with which to use to file challenges.  I am recommending that all Greenwich Township residents fill out complaint forms and submit them at the April 3, 2017 meeting.

B. Time limitations for filing proceedings related to specific subdivision or land development proposals.
1. No person shall be allowed to file any proceeding with the Board later than thirty (30) days after an application for development, preliminary or final, has been approved by the appropriate Township officer, agency, or body if such proceeding is designed to secure reversal or to limit the approval in any manner, unless such person alleges and proves that he had no notice, knowledge, or reason to believe that such approval had been given. If such person has succeeded to his interest after such approval, he shall be bound by the knowledge of his predecessor in interest.

I personally did not have any notice, knowledge or reason to believe that the parcel of land designated as commercial had been approved to be developed for a 40 bay warehouse.  I will be filing for a copy of the meeting notes in which this approval was made and a copy of the public notice given that this approval was made.

2. The failure of anyone to appeal from a decision to approve a Tentative Plan or Preliminary Plan shall preclude appeal from Final Plan approval except in the case where the Final Plan substantially deviates from the approved Tentative Plan or Preliminary Plan.
3. All appeals from determinations adverse to the landowners shall be filed by the landowner within thirty (30) days after notice of the determination is issued.

C.Public notice, as defined in this Ordinance, shall be given for all hearings, and written notice, as defined by §1103(E) below, shall be given to the applicant, the Zoning Officer, such other persons as the Board of Supervisors shall designate by ordinance, and to any person who has made timely request for the same.

D.  The parties to the hearing shall be the Township, any person affected by the application who has made timely appearance of record before the Board, and any other person including civic or community organizations permitted to appear by the Board. The Board shall have power to require that all persons who wish to be considered parties enter appearances in writing on forms provided by the Board for such purpose.

We have to file our grievance and our challenge to this development ASAP!  We have only 30 days.

Section 1104.
PROCEDURE FOR HEARINGS ON SUBSTANTIVE QUESTIONS
A. A landowner who, on substantive grounds, desires to challenge the validity of an ordinance or map or any provision thereof which prohibits or restricts the use or development of land in which he has an interest shall submit the challenge either to the Zoning Hearing Board in accordance with the provisions of §1102 of this Ordinance or to the Board of Supervisors along with a request for a Curative Amendment.

B.  Persons aggrieved by a use or development permitted on the land of another by an ordinance or map in effect in Greenwich Township or by any provision thereof, who desire to challenge the validity of such ordinance or map, shall first submit their challenge to the Board for a hearing thereon.

C.  Such submissions as permitted by this §1104, and only such submissions, shall be governed by the following:

1. The challenging party shall make a written request to the Board that it hold a XI-9 hearing on its challenge. The request shall contain the reasons for the challenge.
2. The Board shall commence its hearing(s) within sixty (60) days after the request is filed, unless the landowner requests or consents to an extension of time.
3. Public notice of the hearing, as required by §1103(B) and §1103(E) of this Ordinance, shall include notice that the validity of the ordinance or map is in question and shall give the place where and the times when a copy of the request may be examined by the public. Such copy of the request shall include any plans, explanatory material, or proposed amendments as provided to the Township by the challenging landowner.
4. Based upon the testimony presented at the hearing(s), the Board shall determine whether the challenged ordinance or map is defective, as alleged by the landowner.
5. If the challenge is found by the Board to have merit, the decision of the Board shall include recommended amendments to the challenged ordinance which will cure the defects found. In reaching its decision, the Board shall consider the amendments, plans, and explanatory material submitted by the landowner and shall also consider:
a. The impact of the proposal upon roads, sewer facilities, water supplies, schools, and other public service facilities.

As residents of Krumsville, we have to make it very very clear that our challenge is more about the traffic that will be generated by a 40 bay warehouse than by the warehouse itself.  Our roads cannot handle the strain of 1000+ tractor trailers running through Krumsville a week.

Section 1106.
APPEALS TO COURT
Appeals from decisions of the Zoning Hearing Board may be made by any aggrieved party to a court of competent jurisdiction, as provided for in the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.

All residents of Krumsville along the proposed route into and out of the warehouse are affected and are aggrieved parties.  Long term, residents along Route 737 south into Kutztown will be affected by the increase of tractor trailer traffic heading towards Route 222 and will be aggrieved parties.