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Springettsbury Twp. considers new zoning rules to regulate casinos

Jana Benscoter
York Dispatch
Casino patrons play some of the 600 slot machines at the Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin, located approximately 70 miles south of Pittsburgh, shortly after its grand opening in Farmington, Pa.
  • Township board supervisors will discuss the matter 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8 at their regular meeting.
  • Supervisors will consider using zoning rules to regulate possible casino locations throughout Springettsbury's boundaries, township manager Ben Marchant said.

Springettsbury Township doesn't want a mini-casino, and the Board of Supervisors is considering an ordinance just in case state lawmakers ever try to overrule their wishes.

The board could use zoning to regulate possible casino locations in Springettsbury, township manager Ben Marchant said. The members will discuss the matter at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, at the township building, 1501 Mount Zion Road, during their regular meeting. 

“Penn National has selected an area within a 15-mile radius of Yoe Borough for the location of a category 4 casino,” he said. “They are in the process of looking for a site. Springettsbury Township falls within this area of their search. The township has no plans for a casino at this time.”

The township is currently among a list of 38 York County municipalities that voted no dice to casinos. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board gave municipalities that option once the state announced it would be awarding 10 new mini-casino licenses. 

Marchant said the township is interested in amending zoning rules in the event that the state Legislature "could pre-empt municipal authority in the permitting and siting of casinos in the future."

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Springettsbury currently doesn't have any township codes to address casinos, he said. 

Springettsbury Township Manager Ben Marchant. Submitted/photo

“Therefore, it is prudent to have regulations in place addressing casinos in the land use and zoning code,” he explained.

A draft of the zoning amendment is not ready to be made public, Marchant said. It will be made public if supervisors vote to direct staff to prepare and advertise an ordinance for review by both the township planning commission and the York County Planning Commission. 

Chairman Mark Swomley, Supervisor Kathleen Phan and now-former supervisor Bill Schenck voted in favor of a resolution that prohibited a category 4 casino within the township boundaries. Vice Chairman George Dvoryak and Supervisor Blanda Nace voted against the resolution.

At a December meeting, Nace noted the township could receive about $6 million if a casino were located in Springettsbury. The local share, he said, is 2 percent of the casino's profits, of which half of that money must go toward reducing property taxes. 

More:Penn National wins right to put casino in York County

The mini-casinos, part of a new gaming expansion law passed last year, can have 750 slot machines. Penn National reported it plans to pay another $2.5 million to operate 30 table games.