West Donegal Township supervisors approved waivers for a planned Amazon distribution center, though the people representing the company at the meeting avoided saying the word “Amazon.”
Darwin R. Beauvais, a partner in the Philadelphia-based law firm Dilworth Paxson, said he represented what he called “the end user” of the property at 10 Industrial Road. He said his client would like to have the distribution center open by September, but has encountered delays in dealing with the state Department of Environmental Protection.
“Hopefully, we’ll be around by the holiday season,” Beauvais said.
Kestra M. Kelly, a senior engineer at BL Companies, an architecture, engineering, environmental and land surveying firm, described the waivers being sought. They included a requirement that driveways be 400 feet apart; she said the property was not large enough to accommodate that, but the plans came as close as possible. Other waivers were for curbs and sidewalks; Kelly said pedestrian traffic was not expected and noted that there were no curbs elsewhere in the industrial park. Kelly acknowledged that the company planning the distribution center had been named in news reports but would not say the word “Amazon.”
Katie Burnett, a Rheems resident who is a Democratic candidate for township supervisor, suggested to Kelly that “this theoretical company that you represent” would be wise to make plans for bus access to the workplace so that it would be able to hire people like herself who cannot afford to drive. Burnett said she takes Red Rose Transit to her job in Lancaster and interacts with such people on a daily basis. Township Manager John O. Yoder III noted that Amazon, which he identified by name, and the Elizabethtown Area Chamber of Commerce have been discussing how to get employees and noted that a schedule change from the Red Rose Transit Authority is creating challenges.
In another matter, supervisors agreed to postpone action on accepting portions of Farmington Lane and Randolph Drive in the StoneyBrook development as part of the township’s public road system after concerns were raised about the condition of the streets. Supervisor Douglas Hottenstein said although accepting the streets would get the township some extra money from the state, he did not think it was wise to do so until it was clear that the streets were in proper condition. Supervisor Eric W. Kreider agreed.
“I don’t see taking over a street that has flaws in it,” Kreider said.
Also at the meeting, supervisors approved plans for a UGI Utilities gas regulator station at 1696 Turnpike Road. The station will take high-pressure natural gas and reduce it to a lower pressure so it can be delivered more safely to customers. The above-ground station is to replace a similar station in a pit across the street that has problems with flooding and freezing in the winter.