Springettsbury board rejects rezoning proposal

Christopher Dornblaser

The Springettsbury Township board of supervisors unanimously voted against a proposal Thursday night to rezone an area around the intersection of Mount Zion Road and East Market Street in the township.

The proposal called for rezoning 40 acres of land — separated into parcels already encompassed by the Town Center Overlay or by developing the same area into a town center for shopping — into what is referred to as Commercial Highway. The Town Center Overlay would be expanded by adding up to 41 adjacent parcels, according to the proposal.

New plan: Springettsbury Township residents had a chance to voice their opinions on the rezoning proposal Thursday night, and outspoken residents took an hour and a half to share their views. Many questioned it.

After the comment period, the board held a normally scheduled meeting, where the members voted to not go forward with the proposal.

Based on comments from both the York County Planning Commission and Springettsbury Township residents, the township staff presented an alternative plan for the board to pursue.

Jessica Fieldhouse, director of community development, said the alternative plan would make the rezoned area much smaller, only encompassing an L-shaped area at the intersection of Mount Zion Road and East Market Street. It would rezone the area as Mixed Use with a Town Center Overlay. Supervisor Blanda Nace motioned to pursue the staff recommendation, and the motion passed.

Much of the area covered in the proposal is currently designated as either Neighborhood Commercial or High Density Residential, meaning those areas contain residential, office and commercial spaces as well as public utility.

Board chairman Mark Swomley said if the board was to proceed with the staff recommendation, it would need to vet it with the Springettsbury Township Planning Commission, and it would continue along the same process as the last proposal.

"I would just like to add that we kind of know now what the problems are that we need to address, and I hope when this comes back that we've fully vetted those and we can come with important solutions for everyone," vice-chair George Dvoryak said after the decision was made.

County recommends Springettsbury rezoning request not be adopted

Reaction: The township building was packed with residents who came for the discussion. Some residents argued that the ordinance shouldn't be changed, while others questioned the purpose of changing the zoning. Resident John Spanos commended the board during the meeting, saying the new proposed plan showed that the rejected plan is not acceptable.

"I think that's probably the best situation you currently have," Spanos told the board of the new proposal.

"We're pleased the board listened to the residents," he said following the discussion.

About 10 people addressed the board during the session. After the discussion session finished, many of those who came for the discussion left, even before a decision was made.

Future: According to the county planning commission's unofficial staff report, rezoning the parcels as requested would conflict with the pre-existing future land use section of the Springettsbury Township Comprehensive Plan for developing a town center in that same area, and it would impact the zoning designations of surrounding residential and commercial areas by making them nonconforming with their present zoning designations.

Swomley said after the meeting the potential rezoning could align with a new comprehensive plan when it comes to fruition. During the meeting, the board approved staffing to go forward with creating a new comprehensive plan.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.