Swatara Twp. board of commissioners file appeal to stop warehouse project

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SWATARA TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — A legal battle continues in Swatara Township, Dauphin County to build four warehouses between Route 322 and Chambers Hill road.

Opponents say the project would decrease property values and add hundreds of trucks and cars to rush hour traffic.

The Swatara Township Board of Commissioners voted unanimously a little more than a year ago to deny the conditional use application from Mushroom Hill LLC, but just last month Dauphin County President Judge John Cherry reversed that denial.

Residents in Swatara Township have been extremely vocal about not wanting warehouses in their backyards, taking up 1.2 million square feet of space.

Eric Epstein is an advocate for the Swatara Action Team.

“We presented a fact-based case. All the information that we presented, all our testimony was never rebutted by the people who wanted to build the warehouse,” Epstein said. “We followed the process. We followed the rules and we followed the regulations.”

All five commissioners listened and unanimously denied the developer’s plan in 2020, “Mainly based on our internal staff recommendation and assessment that the application was incomplete, that it didn’t contain enough information,” said President Commissioner Tom Connolly.

Connolly says it’s his job to protect residents and there were several issues.

“Many times when new development comes in there’s a reason that they need public sewer,” Connolly said. “Lines are run and then residents have to connect to it.”

Though Thursday night at a special meeting, he was one of two who didn’t see a path forward.

“I’m going to vote no and the yeses have it 3-2,” Connolly said.

Despite his vote, Connolly hopes the township is successful in the appeal. Epstein is pretty confident it will be.

“The decision by the commissioners is encouraging because it respects the will of the community and the community followed the rules, followed the regulations, presented facts and clearly did not want a warehouse in their backyard,” Epstein said.

The board of supervisors did follow their appeal in time although it’s not clear how long it will take to get through the courts.

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