CAMP HILL, Pa. (WHTM) – Despite the threat of a lawsuit, its planning commission voted unanimously Tuesday to recommend that Camp Hill deny plans for a Chick-fil-A restaurant at a busy intersection.
The vote comes one day after developers of the project, Consolidated Properties, threatened to sue the borough, accusing them of acting in bad faith.
But the commission sees it differently, as do residents who agreed Tuesday that the borough has been more than accommodating to Consolidated, granting numerous timeline extensions ever since the proposal first went before the council late last year.
“You [the commission] have acted in good faith, as opposed to the developer who has acted in bad faith,” said Bill Cluck, an attorney for grassroots group Safe Streets Camp Hill.
“This developer who is not getting what he wants is basically stomping his feet and saying he’s gonna sue,” said Brett Miller, a resident.
The project is planned at the southeast corner of 32nd and Chestnut streets and will abut a residential area on at least one side. The restaurant would be a 5,031-square-foot building with space for 106 seats, a double-lane drive-thru, and parking spots for more than 50 vehicles.
That proximity to neighboring homes and an increase in traffic has been a major argument for residents against the project.
“I would just ask them to consider going somewhere else. There’s plenty of other options that don’t put you into a residential community,” Camp Hill crossing guard Christine Young said. “Kids are cutting in and out, people cross the street, people walk their dogs. It’s a dangerous option.”
Borough solicitor Joshua Bonn said Tuesday they do not comment on threatened litigation, but did express concern over Consolidated’s refusal to submit revised plans in October after requesting an extension in August to further address resident concerns.
“On October 22nd, the developer’s attorney notified me that a revised plan will not be resubmitted,” Bonn said.
The developers’ refusal to submit revised plans appeared to play a role in the commission’s decision to recommend denial for the project.
One commission member mentioned ongoing zoning issues, the use of private alleyways for site access, and traffic problems as reasons why he voted to recommend to deny the project.
In a letter from Consolidated to the council dated Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, attorney Charles Courtney wrote, in part:
“The pending Preliminary/Final Subdivision and Land Development Plan for Chick-fil-A was not revised and resubmitted in October to address zoning comments because the Borough’s zoning reviews of this plan have not been objective or in good faith. The timing of the comments, the nature of comments, and Council members discussions about the plan even before such plan has been finalized and/or left the Planning Commission has made it clear to us that the Borough and its officials have engaged in a pattern of conduct that is calculated to contrive an ultimate denial of the plan and/or delay in the ultimate construction of the project, in violation of the rights of Consolidated Properties to develop this site.”
Consolidated Properties was not at Tuesday’s commission meeting.
The plans will go before the full council at their Dec. 11 meeting. Councilors can vote to approve the project as-is, approve it on a conditional basis, or deny it.