CAMP HILL, Pa. (WHTM) – There is yet another delay in the proposal to build a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Camp Hill at the busy 32nd and Chestnut Street intersection.
Tuesday, the borough’s planning commission unanimously voted to accept Consolidated Properties’ request for another extension to further revise plans and wait for important land-use development reviews to come in.
Among them, a PennDOT courtesy review of the site and sewer/stormwater comments that are still outstanding.
Charlie Courtney, a land-use attorney with McNees Law who represents the developer, on Tuesday said the process of revisions and extensions is customary for large projects, especially for one in what he calls a commercial area.
“If you look at 32nd Street, what’s across the street? A shopping center, commercial uses,” Courtney said. “Up and down both sides of 32nd Street, it’s a commercial corridor.”
Residents, predictably, disagree and interrupted planning commission officials and developers multiple times to voice their disapproval from their seats in the crowd.
Before the meeting, dozens rallied outside of the borough building in a show of solidarity and attempt to convince the commission to deny the plan altogether. Several residents even jeered developers and borough leaders as they walked into the building, many avoiding the rallying area.
“They want to make our neighborhood an exit ramp, period,” said resident Mark Molesevich. “It’s gonna be like a parasite attached to our neighborhood, ‘here’s this problem, why don’t you deal with it now?’ [The developers] know a gridlock will be created and then they’re gonna want us to spend tax dollars to make that gridlock go away.”
In addition to concerns about traffic, residents are worried about pedestrian and student safety along the Chestnut Street corridor will be threatened.
Several speakers asked developers to come up with a plan for the construction zone before students go back to school next week, as many use that street to walk to and from home.
“I think as part of that [extension] process, we’ll have to work with the borough and work with the school district to designate spots where students and pedestrians can safely cross Chestnut Street,” site engineer Doug Gosick said.
Borough manager Pat Dennis confirmed Tuesday that demolition is set to begin on the six houses where the proposed restaurant will be located. Preliminary digging and demo work has already been done.
Borough’s solicitor Joshua Bonn took a lot of heat at the meeting from residents who questioned his recommendation that the planning commission accepts the developer’s request for that extension.
He says prior case law pertaining to similar land development projects all but requires the extension be granted, due to laws currently in place.
“Whenever there is a land development plan pending before the borough, there is a statutory deadline within which the borough must act,” said Bonn. “If the developer presents a plan and the borough does nothing for 90 days, the plan is deemed approved.”
Bonn said he wants to avoid that automatic approval from happening, so he says giving Consolidated Properties more time to polish and smooth over their plans is a good thing.
The full council still needs to vote to accept the planning commission’s Tuesday decision to recommend that extension be granted. That should happen at the council’s Sept. 11 meeting.
Developers said at Tuesday’s meeting that another reason they wanted an extension is that new information and input came in Monday, and they didn’t have enough time to properly look it over.
After being asked by one commission member, developers pledged to take that new input, as well as those outstanding reviews and information, and have plans ready by the planning commission’s Sept. 17 meeting.
Stay with abc27 News as this story continues to develop.