CAMP HILL, Pa. (WHTM) — Camp Hill’s borough council voted unanimously Wednesday to deny plans for a Chick-Fil-A on the southeast corner of 32nd and Chestnut streets.
The vote comes about one year after the developer, Consolidated Properties, first brought the plans before the council. Developers almost immediately were met with resistance from residents who voiced frustrations about increased traffic and pedestrian safety in what is a highly residential area.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Consolidated showed up after making a request to the council to present and share their side of the story. They even offered explanations for why they missed a deadline in October to submit revised plans.
An attorney for Consolidated, Charles Courtney, said in his presentation that there has been a concerted effort to deny plans for the restaurant all along.
“We, in our view, with the late comments and the nature of the comments and how all of this was unfolding, we were getting stonewalled,” Courtney said.
He said developers were intentionally given zoning ordinance comments late, and that the borough held them to standards not expected of other businesses, particularly around alleys.
Courtney further alleged deliberate misreads and misinterpretations of ordinances by the borough in order to keep Consolidated from satisfying the law.
Courtney warned the council before its vote.
“You can deny the plan. There’s no question at this point that that will result in litigation and, look, that’s not a threat to you in any way. Listen, it is a fact,” he said.
That threat didn’t sit well with residents, who credit the drawn-out process and delays to their grassroots opposition.
“All these extensions, they were never changing anything, they just kept trying to drag it out,” Roy Hanson said.
“Folks, let’s start a GoFundMe, pass the hat, whatever it takes. Raise my taxes. Do not give in to this extortion,” said Chris Courogen.
“They wanted you to roll over at every step,” Brett Miller said.
Under the law, the council did have to vote Wednesday and couldn’t delay or table the vote until a later meeting, according to the borough’s solicitor.
Many residents said they were upset developers failed to resubmit revised plans in October after asking for a deadline extension in August, and then showing up Wednesday in what many considered the 11th hour and asking for the borough to continue working with them.
Courtney said Consolidated chose not to submit those plans in October because it became “crystal clear,” in their view, that the borough was biased against the project.
He said another factor was that after they made another round of changes in preparation for October’s submission, ChickFilA corporate did not approve of the new plans. The company took issue with parking changes that would have affected seating.