Cumberland Township Supervisors tentatively denied approval of preliminary plans for a large apartment complex at the site of the closed Gettysburg Country Club at Rt. 30 and Country Club Lane last night.
Opponents of the proposed Residences at Willoughby Run, an eight-building complex of 112 apartments, overflowed into the hallway of the meeting room.
Supervisors voted 3 to 2 to deny approval of the preliminary plan, questioning water issues, the traffic study, and other technicalities. The supervisors said some required approvals were unfinished.
This action delays but does not end the controversy, because the developers need only upgrade the plan and resubmit.
Opponents spoke against the proposed location, with one saying, “We really don’t want it, but if you must build it build it somewhere else.” Speakers said the apartments would not help with housing shortages in the county because of high rents.
Speakers emphasized that the location of the apartments is on ground that was a site of the first day’s Battle of Gettysburg. Two faculty members from the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College came with several students who described the battles. “This is not a technical decision,” said history professor Dr. Peter Carmichael. Civil War Institute Assistant Director Dr. Ashley Luskey emphasized that for the opposition, it is the “intangible things” that are important.
Several Gettysburg enthusiasts traveled for hours to speak out against the plan. One man said he had come from Edison, New Jersey, and had visited Gettysburg “over 100 times”. A mother and son drove to the meeting from Pittsburgh, saying there were four confederate hospitals on the site.
Presenters submitted several hundred more petitions from Cumberland Township residents, and thousands of petitions had been mailed in from American Battlefield Trust.
In addition to the spoken testimony, the supervisors also received many letters about the project.