Save Rite Auto disputes claims of noncompliance
Save Rite Auto’s attorney says the owner of the used car lot and service center in Newberry Township didn’t cut corners when he expanded his River Road operations.
John Ogden, the attorney representing Thomas Reed, also said his client did not need an updated land development plan, nor did he deserve a warning from the township.
“Mr. Reed has always cooperated with the Township,” Ogden wrote in a response letter to the township. “And, the township has always treated him fairly.”
According to a township letter written by zoning officer Jeff Martz, the last zoning approval for the River Road property was in 1988. The prior owner, Martz wrote, was denied a variance in 1993 to expand the use.
Since 1988, the property’s use has “expanded considerably” without zoning approval, he wrote.
Structures have been built, lighting added, parking spots increased, business hours extended, services added and the scope of vehicle sales expanded, he explained.
“There is no record of zoning approval of land development approval for any of these expanded activities,” the letter reported.
Martz explained that while Save Rite Auto was given a building permit and occupancy permit recently for new structures built on the property, the permits didn’t “constitute zoning approval for any expanded use of the property or land development approval for the development of the property.”
Ogden wrote he was unaware of any "authority" that "requires a landowner to submit a retroactive land development plan.”
“As you stated in your letter, Thomas Reed acquired all permits and built all structures in accordance with those permits,” Ogden explained.
A York Haven neighbor, Mike Haugh, has a “personal vendetta” toward his client, Ogden wrote, which is why he said his client is being investigated.
Haugh has relayed to supervisors what he and his neighbors have witnessed: tires lying around, trash being burned and work being conducted at all hours, and neighbors forced to breathe in fumes from a paint booth.
The 64-year-old has expressed that he thinks it’s unfair that other township businesses and churches have to comply with zoning ordinances and that each entity has to create a stormwater management plan.
Haugh has told supervisors that Save Rite Auto does not have a stormwater management plan.
According to Ogden, Haugh helped to “build part of the building on the property.”
Haugh denied that claim. His attorney, Anthony Bowers, could not be reached by phone for further comment.
“Please be aware that this neighbor has made numerous false complaints against Thomas Reed so much so that a letter has been written to the Chief of the Newberry Township Police Department Steven Lutz,” Ogden wrote.
Haugh’s complaints to the state Department of Environmental Protection also have been “unfounded,” Ogden continued.
Reed’s attorney addressed each matter in the township's warning letter individually, adding that Reed has done nothing wrong.
Ogden wrote that he is “confused” that the “Township may consider hardship waivers or modifications" to the property if warranted.
His example, he wrote, is that Reed “spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to make a state-of-the-art facility.”
Ogden said his client relied on the “Township’s approvals, permits and inspections" in order to do so.