Middle Paxton neighbors fight proposed warehouse development near Route 22/322

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DAUPHIN, Pa. (WHTM) — Hundreds of Middle Paxton Township residents are fighting a plan to build a warehouse in their community.

Developers Pocono Business Park LLC. are asking the Middle Paxton Township board to rezone an around 40-acre piece of land known as the Hagy Farm so that they can build a warehouse near Route 22/322.

For Ryan Evans, the issue is deeply personal, because the warehouse would be built right behind his childhood home where his parents still live.

“Right here in this yard that my kid plays in every afternoon after school when he’s done with 2nd grade, I’m going to be worried every minute from the moment he steps into this yard until he’s done, until I pick him up, that there’s going to be either an industrial accident or a tractor-trailer accident that’s going to cause some harm to come to him or the environment surrounding us,” Evans said.

He isn’t the only one with concerns. More than a thousand people have signed an online petition against the proposal.

Dozens came out to fight against it at a board meeting on Tuesday night.

Patty Smith with government watchdog group Rock The Capital cautioned the board of supervisors against making a decision that could have permanent implications.

“Once you rezone this property, you can not put that genie back in the bottle,” Smith said.

With the developers estimating trucks will make about 500 daily trips to and from the warehouse speakers brought up concerns about traffic, safety and cost.

Truck driver Tobias Kautz said he believes one of the costs will be repairing the neighborhood roads that the truck drivers wear down.

“It’s going to be a giant cost to the community, and you’re going to wind up raising taxes,” Kautz said.

The development would also be near Clark’s Creek, which is causing environmental worries.

President of the Clark’s Creek Watershed Preservation Association Paula Zankel says runoff water and water that soaks into the group could have industrial chemicals from the warehouse that end up in the creek. That could hurt the recreational activities there and the safety of the water used for drinking.

“So not only water pollution, but you have the noise pollution from all of these trucks,” Zankel said.

Developers didn’t come to Tuesday’s meeting, instead requesting that the discussion about the warehouse be tabled for a future meeting.

Supervisor Jeff Smith said that the board couldn’t take any action because of that.

“It’s pretty much the consensus of this board, I’m sure. that you people are all against this warehouse,” Smith said. “We can’t do anything until they do their next move.”

Neighbors say they plan to keep showing up and keep fighting the project.

“I can’t think of anybody that is going to benefit from this warehouse except for the people who own the project,” Zankel said.

You can find out more about their fight against the proposal here.

ABC27 News did reach out to Salzmann Hughes, P.C., the law firm representing Pocono Business Park LLC., but hasn’t gotten a response.

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