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Cumberland Planning Commission recommends rejecting new apartment complex

Over 40 concerned citizens attended last night’s Cumberland Township Planning Commission Meeting.

The evening’s topic was a consideration of “The Residence at Willoughby Run”, a proposed 112 apartment unit on 14.5 acres at the corner of Chambersburg Road and Country Club Lane.

The site is controversial because it is within the Gettysburg National Military Park’s boundaries and the site of action on the 1st day’s Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.

Many speakers spoke against the plan.

The Planning Commission said it had received 2,900 letters of opposition from a campaign organized by the American Battlefield Trust including 223 from local residents.

During an emotional dialogue with the commission, several speakers asked if the complex is “a done deal” and if there is anything they could do to change the outcome.

Township solicitor Sam Wiser explained that the panel was reviewing a plan that had been submitted in accordance with zoning ordinances and that there is no freedom for the commission to “call a halt” to the project. Wiser said the Planning Commission’ only authority was to determine whether the plan meets technical criteria.

Wiser said a chance for the public to impact the process had been during prior meetings where the zoning and the comprehensive plan had been developed but that those meetings had been poorly attended.

After the challenging public comment and questions and answers from the builder, the commission unanimously rejected to deny the request for a waiver to the Board of Supervisors.

The commission said the project’s preliminary plan “technically” met the zoning requirements, but that it “doesn’t meet the spirit of the comprehensive plan.”

The commission’s recommendation is scheduled to be discussed at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, September 27 at 7:00 p.m.

Planning Commission Chairman Steve Tallman said he is a member of The Cumberland Township Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) which, although it has not met in several years, will consider the issue of the apartment complex in a meeting on Tuesday, September 20 at 4:00 p.m.

Both the HARB meeting and the Supervisors meeting are open to the public.

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Leon Reed
Leon Reed
1 year ago

Thanks for this article. It was an impressive turnout. And there was a minimum of “I don’t want this in my back yard.” The people who spoke addressed real issues like impact on the battlefield, traffic safety, and impact on township resources (water, schools, etc.).

The planning commission’s comment that the real time to affect decisions like this is during the master planning process illustrates the importance of an involved citizenry.

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