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Online petition started to prevent Newberry Twp. warehouses

David Weissman
505-5431/@DispatchDavid
  • Proposal is for two warehouses totaling more than 1.8 million square feet in Newberry Township.
  • The township board of supervisors postponed a vote on Goodman Logistics Center.
  • An online petition has garnered nearly 250 supporters in less than two days.

Nearly 250 people had signed an online petition to prevent the construction of two large warehouses in Newberry Township as of Thursday afternoon.

"I feel like I'm being forced off of it," said Chris Donley , Tuesday, July 5, 2016, about his third-generation farmland, while voicing his concerns over a recent proposal for a warehouse, which would adjoin his Newberry Township property on three sides. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The township's board of supervisors postponed a final vote on a California-based developer's proposal during Tuesday night's meeting.

Goodman Birtcher's proposal for the Goodman Logistics Center includes one 1.1 million-square-foot and another 732,000-square-foot building on 188.5 acres of land partially visible from Interstate 83, according to plans filed with the township.

A petition to prevent the construction of warehouses in Newberry Township has garnered nearly 250 signees.

The land, which is zoned mixed-use commercial, is bordered by Potts Hill and Wyndame roads, and the proposed entrance would be in Fairview Township. The Newberry Township Planning Commission voted 4-2 to conditionally approve the company's preliminary plan on June 13.

Newberry Township board chairman Will Toothaker did not immediately return a response for comment on why the board chose to postpone the vote.

The petition was started shortly after the board's meeting by "concerned residents," noting that the project could negatively affect property values, taxes, traffic and the nearby Fishing Creek Water Basin.

"I want to preserve the little bit of land we have left in this area," one resident commented on the petition. "If I wanted to live around big businesses, I would have moved to that type of area."

Charles Courtney, a Harrisburg-based attorney representing Goodman Birtcher, noted that the project would generate an estimated 1,000 jobs and more than $1 million in real estate tax revenue. The project includes no tax breaks or subsidies, he said.

The 1,000-job estimate is based on past projects of similar size, Courtney said, but that number could be more or less depending on the building users. The company is planning to start construction on the project, which is projected to cost more than $160 million, in early 2017, but Courtney said it's too early to determine potential users.

The residents' petition also noted that there is potential for a third warehouse on the property. Courtney said there are no plans for a third warehouse, but a traffic study was conducted to account for a "max build-out."

Several residents commenting on the petition complained that they weren't given more advance warning, but Courtney said Goodman Birtcher's plan has been openly discussed in township meetings since last November.

Chris Donley talks about his two main concerns, the noise and the quality of his spring-fed well water, after recently learning about a proposal for a warehouse, which would adjoin his 20-acre, third-generation farm property on three sides, just 25 feet from his barn in Newberry Township, Tuesday, July 5, 2016. Dawn J. Sagert photo

"This is supposed to be approved, legally," he said.

— Reach David Weissman at dweissman@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @DispatchDavid.