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Controversy over Habitat for Humanity project - abc27 WHTM

Controversy over Habitat for Humanity project

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YORK, Pa. (WHTM) -

There is hoopla over a Habitat for Humanity in York County. Residents in a New Salem neighborhood are standing staunchly against the project. However, those at York Habitat for Humanity wish everyone would be more open-minded.

The home would be for a single mother, with a disabled teen. The mother is Laurie Hanline, and she can't understand why so many are against the project.

"Some people just can't help their ignorance," Hanline said.

Hanline is a mother of two, and 13-year-old Allen has a variety of medical conditions including cerebral palsy. The family of three lives in a rental home that is too small for Allen to use a special walker. Instead, he has to crawl or be carried around the house.

"The problem is that without wide doorways, wide hallways things like that, they don't fit through the doorways," Hanline said.

York Habitat for Human offered to help and announced that Hanline's family would be the recipient of a recent building project. Groundbreaking was scheduled for early August on a vacant lot on Robin Hood Drive, but the project has hit some roadblocks.

In a release the group said:

"Just prior to Tuesday evening's York New Salem (YNS) Borough Council meeting, York Habitat learned that a previous land use restriction on the property from 1986 may preclude construction on the site—even though the YNS Planning Commission approved the subdivision plans just a few weeks prior to the Council meeting. In reaction to this last minute development, York Habitat applied for a thirty day extension to explore the issue before seeking final approval from the Borough Council. However, after the overwhelming opposition voiced by local residents at that YNS Borough Council meeting, York Habitat has made a most difficult decision and faced the reality that the best course of action is to secure another property for the Hanline's home where this most-deserving family will be embraced by the community rather than placing them in such an unwelcoming environment."

Those at Tuesday's meeting argued that the land was never to be developed, and it was to remain green space. There were also worries about water runoff and the habitat home bringing down neighborhood house values.

Ed Mundorf lives in the neighborhood and is a member of the borough's planning board. He shared some of those concerns.

"They were not as nice to us as we thought they should have been, they didn't ask our opinion," he said.

Mundorf added he would even help if the project was up to neighborhood standards and also argued that there are plenty of other properties that could be used.

"There's other homes actually in the borough that have been unoccupied for sometime, they could easily modify one of those. to support their family," Mundorf said.

Habitat for Humanity is now putting out a cry for help.

"At this point, York Habitat is hoping to have another building lot donated in the central to southern area York County that will accommodate the specially designed, handicapped accessible home. Our needs are as follows:

1) Minimum Lot Width – 72 feet (with allowable 10 feet side set-backs) House is 52 feet wide

2) Minimum Lot Area – Depends upon zoning regulations (total proposed impervious surface 2500 sq. ft.) Typically at least .25 acre is needed

3) Public Utilities – Water, Sewer and Electric

4) Zoned for residential single-family dwelling

5) Sub-division and land development completed. Approved building lot preferred due to short time frame for the start of the build; however a lot in stages of development would be considered as well.

6) Limited slope to accommodate single floor rancher with ADA entries

Another option would be to acquire a three bedroom rancher in the same areas of York County that has public sewer and water and could be modified to meet the needs of the family. (The Hanline family currently lives in the Red Lion School District but is certainly willing to relocate to other suitable areas of the County). A donation of an existing single story home would be ideal as it would allow the raised funds to be used for the renovations of the home. Obtaining an existing home that can be renovated for handicap accessibility would guarantee that the Women Build 2013 project would continue on time, but most importantly would transform Laurie from a renter to a homeowner without the delay of the land development process."

Anyone knowing of a suitable building lot or existing house that could become the future home for the Hanline family is urged to contact Associate Director, Miles Fishel at (717)854-6168 ext. 102 or email miles@yorkhabitat.org.

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