Gettysburg Planning Commission gives first approval to Gettysburg Station Project

For more information, please see our accompanying story.

The Gettysburg Planning Commission tonight considered, and expressed approval of, a proposed  mixed use residential/commercial project next to the Gettysburg Train Station.

train station project

The proposed project, to be located between Carlisle and Stratton Streets, includes 186 apartments in 3 buildings, as well as 7,000 square feet of restaurant and 8,000 feet of retail space.

The apartments would be rented at market-rate.

The proposal is designed to take advantage of zoning changes approved by the Borough Council in 2018 for this lot that allow, by special exemption, an increased building height above the regular 48-foot height, to 72 feet.

The zoning plan gives the developer the ability to add height by (1) having Internal parking, (2) relocating the existing Rabbit Transit Center, (3) including green space, and (4) including a bike trail.

The developer said they had tried to meet all four of the proposed incentives.

The proposal includes 195 total parking spaces with 95 of them internal.

The developer will move the Transit Center to the east side of Stratton St. near SCCAP.

The developer will also include space for the Inner Loop bicycle trail and has included a large proportion of green space.

The commission recommended approving the requested special exception for the increased building height to 72 feet, as well as variances that allow reducing the required height of the Transit Center, and changing building stepbacks that would provide more green space.

The developers said the goal was to put the 72-foot tall building in the center of the property while the lower buildings would front Carlisle and Stratton Streets.

The developer Tim Harrison, from Staten Island, NY said he had lived in PA for many years and had completed 32 projects including commercial construction in the Harrisburg area.

Harrison said he visited Gettysburg and decided he wanted to develop the property. “This really is what I like to do,” he said.

Harrison said his original plan was for both a hotel and apartments, but the contracted hotel dropped out during the pandemic. “It eventually became clear the hotel world had changed,” said Harrison.

Harrison said he spent a lot of time redeveloping the plan and took the desires of the community into account as he revised it. “I did a number of iterations of this plan trying to be sensitive,” he said.

The Planning Commission will provide comments to the Gettysburg Zoning Board, which will meet on June 28.  The project will also be reviewed by the Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB) as well as the borough council.

The Planning Commission will also be reviewing the plan again when it considers the project’s Land Development Plan.

Featured image caption: Rendering of the proposed project looking from Stratton St. toward Carlisle St. The existing parking garage and railroad track are on the left.

chuck

Charles (Chuck) Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Owner, Publisher, and Editor in Chief. I would like to hear from you. Please contact me at cstangor@gettysburgconnection.org.

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Susan Cipperly
Susan Cipperly
11 months ago

There seems to be some confusion about the proposed ROR development. Right now, the developer has applied for variances and special exceptions. The major issue requiring a variance is the fact that the 2018 ordinance unfortunately required a tiered wedding cake layout for the building, with the possibility of 48′ buildings five feet from the property line, with stepped upper stories. The special exception part allows additional height past 48′ if certain items are provided. The proposal is for a 48′ building on N. Stratton and one on Carlisle, replacing the transit station. Those don’t need a variance. What needs… Read more »

Peggy Rock
Peggy Rock
11 months ago
Reply to  Susan Cipperly

My understanding of the variance application is that it is not for the 72 foot building since they need no variance for that but only to comply with the special exceptions in order to qualify for it. That is the position of the board attorney and it is a correct reading of the ordinance. The 72 feet building is a separate special exception application. The variance application submitted is written to be as confusing and unclear as they could possibly make it but involves the stepback design of the building and the setback line and is so vague and puzzling… Read more »

Peggy Rock
Peggy Rock
11 months ago

Please walk up and down Carlisle and Stratton Streets and enjoy the small town charm that is our Gettysburg. Drive around Lincoln Square and York and Baltimore Streets and take it all in. It is such a special place. We take it for granted. Please see this community. See how many of the homes and other buildings that were here then and are still here, lovingly restored and maintained. Really see the charming small town full of beautiful historic buildings, no building higher than 50 feet other than the iconic Gettysburg Hotel on the Square. Think of it. Not just what happened here in 1863. But Lincoln, the… Read more »

Susan Cipperly
Susan Cipperly
11 months ago

I attended the Planning Commission meeting, watched the HARB meeting on Community Media, and attended the first part of the Zoning Hearing Board meeting. The ZHB meeting was extended to July 12 due to the late hour. A ZHB meeting is more like a court proceeding, with presentations, exhibits, etc. The general public cannot comment, but those parties who own property nearby are allowed to sign up to be “interested parties” and can ask questions. Anyone can attend and listen, as I did. In 2018, the Council at that time, by a 4/3 vote, chose to adopt the ordinance. At… Read more »

Peggy Rock
Peggy Rock
11 months ago

PLEASE attend the zoning board hearing tonight at 7:00 PM at borough hall. This project could be defeated if enough people show up and speak up. The developer resurrected this project with minimal notice and is trying to push it through and if we don’t show up, this is going to be a nightmare, not only for traffic and infrastructure but for the charming little town we love.

Sharron Michels
Sharron Michels
11 months ago

While it would be nice to have public green space where there is now a gravel lot, at what cost? Just as a practical matter we should be asking several questions: Who will be renting these apartments? There is a shortage of housing in Adams county but for affordable housing. “Fair market” rents mean that folks ( for the most part) who actually work in town will not be able to afford to live there. Most, many of our town work force, works” in the hospitality and service industries where they do not make a living wage, certainly not one… Read more »

Peggy Rock
Peggy Rock
11 months ago

Why didn’t you approve my posting today asking people to attend the zoning board hearing at 7 PM tonight? Well thanks to spirited courageous push back from locals, the variance hearing has been adjourned to July 12. Please plan to be there because the good citizens of this town will do what others have done for 160 years: fight to stop this entirely inappropriate construction in the Borough of Gettysburg.

L Barrett
L Barrett
11 months ago
Reply to  Peggy Rock

What I learned at the zoning meeting last night is that this project is inevitable. The developer and his engineer are simply designing the site by the rules written by Borough Council many years ago, making use of “incentives” to create a taller building and move the transit center in order to maximize their financial return within those rules. If anyone is to blame, it is Borough Council, who apparently have tried very hard for many years to get this plot of land developed. We should be thankful a reasonable developer has chosen to invest millions into downtown Gettysburg. I… Read more »

Peggy Rock
Peggy Rock
11 months ago
Reply to  L Barrett

I am not thankful that a carpetbagger developer has found a sweet tax deal to make millions and ruin the historic charm that is Gettysburg. “Reasonable” developer? One of the “upscale” businesses promised for this plot is some variety of a dollar store. The council who moved this forward years ago was a 4-3 vote so we know who is responsible: Schindel, Lawver, Heiser and Berger. And this project is indeed NOT inevitable because no matter what council approved, the developer still needs variances and no variance can be created for this project because it will forever alter the character… Read more »

Peggy Rock
Peggy Rock
11 months ago

The support and momentum are all coming from elected officials. No planning. The only “christmas presents” are a little grass and a a bike path through the property. There is nothing else. It doesn’t matter what the developer does. This will never be the right look for Gettysburg one block off Lincoln Square.

Nancy Cook
Nancy Cook
11 months ago

I like the idea of the transit center at the Agway site too, but I guess there would be additional parking at the SCAAP site. Considering buses in and out of the lot, the Agway site has appeal since it is near businesses not so much residential and convenient to the college. Noise can be an issue. Lots to consider!
Maybe someday we’d have a train to a major city!

Chris Daino
Chris Daino
11 months ago

My biggest question is – Do we need all these apartments? Was is surveyed? When you go to CVS, you travel through lanes that tell me they thought they would have a big complex there of stores – not there. Are we going to have empty big building?

Chris Daino
Chris Daino
11 months ago

I don’t think there is enough space there for that much building?????

Terry Holahan
Terry Holahan
11 months ago

The planned space looks nice, but what ugly buildings! I thought they said they wanted it to more or less blend in with the architecture in the area – and I don’t mean the Racehorse Alley parking garage. This is a big disappointment.

Susan Cipperly
Susan Cipperly
11 months ago
Reply to  Terry Holahan

The buildings shown on the drawing right now are just representative of the size of the buildings, not the final architectural appearance. The process right now is to get the Special Exceptions which, under the 2018 ordinance give a certain number of feet of additional height if certain things are provided, e.g. a bike trail, 12 feet of height. The 2018 ordinance was so ill-conceived that any developer would need variances. If these approvals are granted, then the site plan process and HARB review for actual appearance will take place.

Jim
Jim
1 year ago

The article states that the transit center would be moved to the north side of Carlisle near SCCAP. Carlisle St. doesn’t have a “north side” (it runs north to south, so it has an east and a west side, but not a north side). And Carlisle isn’t particularly close to SCCAP. Any clarification on where they would actually move the transit center to? Given the scope of this project, including the cost associated with moving the transit center (only built a few years ago), I’m guessing this project won’t get off the ground, just like all the other projects that… Read more »

L Barrett
L Barrett
1 year ago

I wish they would consider placing the bus terminal at the vacant corner of Railroad and Washington, currently owned and blighted by Gettysburg College. The space on Stratton is much smaller than the current terminal and situated right next to private residences. This appears to be a deal worked out between the developer and ACTA without community consideration.

Terry Holahan
Terry Holahan
11 months ago
Reply to  L Barrett

You’re right. That old Agway site would be much better. It woul be much easier for visitors and locals to find.

Terry Castonguay
Terry Castonguay
1 year ago

While this project is exciting, I trust government planning officials at all levels-county down to the township-are talking to one another and concurrently assessing the immediate as well as future impacts these projects once approved will have on local and county water resources, utility capacity, medical/hospital capacity, educational/school capacity, road and traffic capacity. The planning considerations and the resulting widespread impacts decisions have don’t just start and stop at the borough level.

Peggy Rock
Peggy Rock
1 year ago

Well said.

Ryan
Ryan
1 year ago

I think this is terrific. That vacant lot is an eyesore and development in our area is inevitable. Dense housing near amenities is better than sprawl. It maintains the rural character of Adams County and reduces reliance on driving.

Peggy Rock
Peggy Rock
1 year ago
Reply to  Ryan

Actually, while development in our area may be inevitable and is happening in surrounding towns, Gettysburgh is not “our area”. It is Gettysburg – unique in the world visited by millions people annually. They come to see the history, to see a charming small historic town. Many people have fought for hundred of years to keep Gettysburg as it is – that’s why something like 60% of the houses that were here at the time of the battle are still here.

Karla Tessitore
Karla Tessitore
11 months ago
Reply to  Peggy Rock

I agree Peggy as a visitor to Gettysburg. I would like it to remain the small Historic town it is.

Chris Daino
Chris Daino
11 months ago
Reply to  Ryan

Then they should build something that fits in with Gettysburg.

Terry Holahan
Terry Holahan
11 months ago
Reply to  Chris Daino

Yes, indeed.

Peggy Rock
Peggy Rock
11 months ago
Reply to  Chris Daino

They certainly could build something that looks like it belongs if they were motivated to do so. But they are not. They are motivated to make money. Full stop. That means building up and a modern 7-story high rise building can never look like it belongs and will completely alter the character of the neighborhood.

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