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Mount Joy Township Gets Complaints About College Solar Array

Mount Joy Township supervisors asked Township Manager Justin Evans to meet with Elizabethtown College’s director of public affairs to tour the college’s solar array after getting complaints from neighbors.

Supervisor Gerald F. Becker said at the township meeting on Monday, April 15, that residents of the nearby Shybrook development had been promised that trees would block their view of the solar array within five years, but things have not gone as promised after three years and said it is an eyesore.

“The upkeep of that place is awful. … The whole appearance of the whole thing is awful. Just awful,” Becker said.

Debra E. Dupler, the vice chair of the board who was running the meeting in the absence of Chairman Gerald G. Cole, said she had spoken with the college’s director of public affairs, M. Caroline Lalvani, earlier that day. Dupler said Lalvani was not aware of any problems with the solar array. Dupler said Lalvani told her that more plantings were to be done in the spring but that Lalvani thought things were going well.

In another matter, supervisors heard from Gary Price, managing partner of Elizabethtown Road Self-Storage LLC, about his plans to build a self-storage facility on Elizabethtown Road between Carl and Scott’s Automotive Repair and the bridge over Route 283. Price told supervisors that he wanted to allow commercial rentals of self-storage units for purposes such as small construction contractors who buy doors and windows in bulk and need a place to store them until they need to use them. He promised that he would not allow people to operate businesses out of the storage units.

Price said he also wanted to have the office of the storage unit business do some related commerce such as selling boxes and other moving supplies as well as renting out moving trucks; those uses are currently not allowed under the township’s zoning. All supervisors present agreed to ask the solicitor to prepare an amendment to the zoning ordinance to allow Price to do those things. (In addition to Cole, Supervisor David W. Sweigart III was absent.)

Supervisors agreed to delay action on regulating the practice of renting out rooms in private homes or entire private homes booked on websites such as Airbnb because Cole was absent. Evans said supervisors would need to decide whether to restrict that to owner-occupied properties or whether to allow absentee landlords to do this. Evans said if it is restricted to owner-occupied properties, the township will need to define that, and he suggested copying the definition used by Elizabethtown Borough in its regulation of short-term rental properties.

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