Newberry Twp. officials want to change zoning to prevent more warehouses

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

Newberry Township officials want to prevent new warehouses from being built in the township's regional commercial/office zone.

The township Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 Tuesday to remove light industrial uses from the permitted types of development in the RCO zone, which spans about 3.5 miles along the Interstate 83 corridor, bisecting the township.

"We're focusing on the fact that our residents in this township do not want to have a warehouse facility, a mass storage facility, and that's where I'm leaning," Chairperson Mario Eckert said.

Removing the light industrial uses from the RCO zone would prevent development of storage facilities there, but it would also prohibit several other uses that are currently permitted, solicitor Andy Miller noted.

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The Newberry Township Municipal complex Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. Bill Kalina photo

Facilities for manufacturing, assembling, converting, finishing, processing, packaging, wholesale, storage and repair would no longer be permitted, according to the township's zoning ordinance.

Existing properties that fall under one of the those categories would then be considered "nonconforming uses" and would be limited in their ability to expand in the future, Miller said.

Eckert, along with Supervisors Maxine Kauffman and Clair Wintermyer, voted in favor of changing the ordinance. Supervisor Dave Kirkpatrick voted against it. Supervisor Brandt Cook was absent.

"My only issue is, we're just — we're putting ourselves in a position where we're telling people we don't want jobs in this township," Kirkpatrick said.

Before the change becomes official, the board will need to approve a draft ordinance with the light industrial uses removed from the regional commercial/office zone, Miller said.

Newberry Township supervisor Dave Kirkpatrick speaks outside the tax collector's office at the township's administrative building Monday, Dec. 28, 2020. Bill Kalina photo

After the board approves the draft ordinance, it will go to the Newberry Township Planning Commission and the York County Planning Commission for review. Then the township will schedule a public hearing to collect comments about the proposal, Miller said.

The discussion over changing the zoning ordinance came about in recent months after CCH Land Development LLC requested an amendment to the township's zoning ordinance to specifically allow warehouses in the RCO zone, as opposed to general "storage," for a proposed facility on Culhane Road.

In January, the Board of Supervisors shut down discussions with CCH about the warehouse project, with a few supervisors stating explicitly that they weren't interested in hearing more about the proposal because they didn't want to see any more warehouses in the township.

The CCH development plan is still pending, but Miller recommended that the township consider changing the zoning ordinance to reflect the township's desire to prevent further industrial development.

Miller pointed out that land development proposals submitted before the change to the ordinance, including the CCH proposal, would be reviewed under the current ordinance, and the new language would only apply to future development plans.