Bock/Shover Re-Zoning Review

The Bock/Shover properties are located along Newville Road (Rt 641) and just to the west of Meadowbrook Road.  The Alexander Spring runs through the eastern end of the Shover property.   Together the properties total about 133 acres, of which approximately 125 acres are in West Pennsboro Township with the remaining 8 acres in North Middleton Township.  At the March 28th, 2016 Supervisors Meeting the Supervisors voted to accept an application from Allen Distribution to rezone the Bock/Shover properties from High Density Residential to Industrial for the purpose of building two warehouses totaling about 1.5 million sq. ft.  The proposed access to the warehouses is from Distribution Drive over Meadowbrook Road and over the Alexander Spring.

Map of Bock/Shover Property
Map of Bock/Shover Property

At the April 21st, 2016 Cumberland County Planning Commission Meeting the Allen Distribution team presented the re-zoning request.  Against the recommendation of the County Planning Staff, the Planning Commission voted to approve the plan.  The county maintains a database of all the requests submitted.  Starting on page 25 of this link are all the documents for the proposed re-zoning.  This contains site plans and reports that were generated by Gannett Flemming.

At the April 28th, 2016 Planning Commission Meeting the re-zoning proposal was reviewed and the Planning Commission voted to remain neutral and send the request back to the Supervisors for the already scheduled May 25th, 2016 Public Hearing.

At a May 9th, 2016 meeting of the Western Cumberland Joint Municipal Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee Meeting the application was reviewed and approved.  These meeting minutes are not available on line.  Here is link to the WCCoG website.

All of these meetings happened before the public became aware of the plans to re-zone.  Allen Distribution presented to these groups and no one was present to express opposing views or even ask questions.  This is why it important to get involved with local government.

I became aware of the re-zoning about two weeks before the May 25th, 2016 Public Hearing.  This blog and the associated Facebook Group was created to inform people what was happening in West Pennsboro Township.  The meeting was well attended and many people spoke against the re-zoning.  There a transcript for this meeting that is only available to the public at a high cost.  The meeting was continued on June 27th, 2016 Supervisors Meeting.  The supervisors did not allow for public comment at this time and voted to approve the re-zoning of the Bock/Shover properties.  This allowed the supervisors to advertise the re-zoning and make it official at the July 25th, 2016 Supervisors Meeting.

The series of meetings held by West Pennsboro Township contained several procedural errors.  An appeal was filed with the Cumberland County Court System.  One issue was insufficient notice given to the public.  In an attempt to rectify the pubic notice issue the Supervisors, at the request of Allen Distribution, held another public meeting on October 24th, 2016.  This meeting was also well attended with numerous people speaking out against the re-zoning.  At the end of the meeting the Supervisors voted to once again approve the re-zoning.  The re-zoning again approved at the November 21st, 2016 Supervisor Meeting.  This meeting also had issues so a second appeal was filed with the Cumberland County Courts.  This appeal is still waiting to be heard.

On December 27th, 2016 Allen Distribution Requested a Preliminary Opinion from the West Pennsboro Zoning office.  This was basically asking if the re-zoning was good and if they could move forward with their plans to build the warehouses.  On January 3rd, 2017 the zoning office agreed that they could move forward.  This opinion allowed an appeal to be filed to the Zoning Hearing Board.

The Zoning Hearing Board is a group of West Pennsboro Township Residents that will listen to the objections to the re-zoning and have the ability to overturn the Supervisor’s Decision to re-zone.  On Monday March 27th, 2017 the Supervisors will pick two alternate members for the Zoning Hearing Board.  On Wednesday March 29th, 2017 the Zoning Hearing Board will commence in a setting similar to a court room.  This meeting will be held at the West Pennsboro Township Volunteer Firehouse at 6:00 pm.

If you have taken the time to read this you realize the importance of what is happening.  Please get involved.  Attend the meeting.  Talk to your friends.  Join the Facebook Group.  Post this to your Facebook page.  E-mail this link.  Help get the word out in any way you can.  Check back for more information.

This process is taking a lot of resources.  Please consider making a contribution to the cause.  More information can be found on the donation page or at GoFundMe.  For more details or information please e-mail me.  For more frequent updates please join West Pennsboro Township Oversight Group on FaceBook.

 

Comments 2

  • Karl:’Do you know whether the Zoning Board meeting on the 24th is the last meeting, or might there be more?
    Jeff Livingston
    Newville

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