Hellam Township residents sharply criticize proposed Route 30 truck stop

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

A proposed truck stop in Hellam Township drew heavy criticism from residents concerned about how it would impact the local environment — and the township itself.

Love's Travel Stops, a national chain of truck stops and convenience stores, proposed a truck stop on roughly 35 acres of land off of Route 30 near the Horn Farm Center.

While the company has seven stops in Pennsylvania, including in adjacent Cumberland and Dauphin counties, this would be its first in York County.

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But there's a long way to go before any construction is started. Love's would need to obtain a variance from the Hellam Township Zoning Board, as the proposed stop is in the Kreutz Creek Interchange Zone. A truck stop is not a viable use of that property.

In addition, Love's still needs to complete a valid sales agreement with the owner of one of the parcels of land, according to Zoning Officer Rachel Vega. That would delay the project for at least three months.

But residents are already criticizing the potential truck stop.

"The only people who would benefit from a truck stop here are the owners of the truck stop," residents Phyllis Koster and Robert Oughton wrote in a letter to the Board of Supervisors. "The residents of Hellam Township would pay the price." 

Koster and other residents also raised the prospect of environmental impacts. In 2018, parts of the Kreutz Creek Road flooded after rainfall.

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"That area has seen many, many flooding problems in the last several years," Koster said. "The Kreutz Creek flows through the proposed site for the truck stop, and the amount of impermeable surface needed for the truck stop would exacerbate the flooding issue that already exists." 

The proposed site of the truck stop, near Route 30 in Hellam Township.

In a lengthy letter to the Board of Supervisors, Hellam resident and co-chair of the Environmental Advisory Council Judith Mueller similarly expressed opposition to the potential truck stop.

"We can build on the remarkable assets we have to grow an outdoor-agricultural destination (and economy) in our Township. Indeed, we already are such a destination," Mueller wrote. "A truck stop is completely at odds with — and harmful to — that much healthier vision for our community." 

The proposed truck stop would cause devastation to the nearby Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education, Mueller wrote. 

"Please — listen to the people who live here. We do not want this," Mueller wrote.

The Horn Farm Center also opposed the truck stop in a statement on its website

"The trucking commerce that will profit Love’s will produce the unwanted byproduct of noise and air pollution, as well as increased traffic, adversely affecting the quality of life for surrounding residents — human and non-human alike," the statement reads.

"Commercial development of our neighboring farmland property conflicts with the Horn Farm Center’s efforts to preserve and protect farmland in Hellam Township through its conservation easement with the York Farm & Natural Lands Trust."

A spokesperson for Love's did not respond to requests for comment.

— Reach Matt Enright via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.