Fertilizer company seeks next approval for North Hopewell Twp. warehouse project

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch
A fertilizer company is asking North Hopewell Township to rezone an agricultural property to commercial on Deer Road.
Sunday, March 1, 2020.
John A. Pavoncello photo

A Tennessee agrochemical company will ask the North Hopewell Township Zoning Hearing Board on  Wednesday to approve a fertilizer storage plant on a recently rezoned parcel of land situated between Dairy Road and Pleasant View Road.

Helena Agri-Enterprises LLC is requesting a special exception in a general commercial zone that would allow a chemical manufacturing, processing or storage operation, as well as a variance to be able to use local roads for the business.

"We think we are a great complement to the farming community, and we look forward to working with the township on being a good neighbor and attempting to reach a solution for the Route 24 (and) Pleasant View Road access point," said Steve Hovis, attorney for Helena.

The proposed site is a 34-acre parcel in the 4600 block of Deer Road bordered by residential properties along Dairy Road to the south and Route 24/Winterstown Road to the west.

North Hopewell Township changed the property from an agricultural zone to a general commercial zone in July to allow for development, township secretary Kerrie Ebaugh said.

The township's Zoning Hearing Board will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the North Hopewell-Winterstown Volunteer Fire Company, 12246 Winterstown Road in Winterstown borough.

Securing a special exception and zoning variance are the next steps in the process for Helena.

In its application, Helena states the fertilizer plant meets all but one requirement of the special exception: that access to and from the plant must go through an arterial road, or major roadway, to limit noise and other disruptions to residential neighbors.

But the property where Helena hopes to build a facility can only reach Route 24, the main road in the area, via either Dairy Road or Pleasant View Road, which are considered local roads.

Pleasant View Road's intersection with Route 24 doesn't have enough room for tractor-trailers, and the intersection itself it considered hazardous, the company stated.

Helena stated the extra traffic on Dairy Road would be minimal, would only pass by three homes and would be concentrated during growing season.

The company is requesting a variance to allow the use of Dairy Road to access the business.

"The proposed buildings appear to be agriculture barns or out buildings. The business supports the farming community," the application states. "The essential character of the neighborhood will not be substantially altered or impaired."

If the zoning hearing board approves the requests, that decision would be final and Helena's next step would be to submit a land development plan for approval.

Some neighbors have said they worry about the safety of storing agrochemicals nearby, especially if the building were to catch fire.

Company officials have said the facility would likely keep about 300,000 gallons of liquid fertilizer on site.

Helena is in the process of buying the property from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg.

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