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Farms could host side businesses under zoning changes

Londonderry Twp. residents are encouraged to attend a public hearing at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 2 regarding changes to the township’s agricultural zoning ordinance that would give farmers more flexibility in opening a side business on their land.


The hearing will be held in the township building, 783 S. Geyers Church Road.

The changes mostly concern secondary commercial businesses that farmers can have on their farm, said township Manager Steve Letavic.

For example, under the current ordinance, a dairy farmer can have one side business on his property, like a vegetable stand. But the ordinance does not allow that farmer to have a second small business, such as making and selling his own cheese on his farm. The proposed changes would allow the cheese business.


The proposed changes also would allow the farmer to have side businesses like a cabinet shop or repair shop that can provide additional income year-round, Letavic said. Limits in the current ordinance are a hindrance when the secondary business – say, a vegetable stand – only operates part of the year.


The ordinance has safeguards to prevent “the springing up” of commercial ventures all over the township, Letavic said.

For example, side businesses would only be allowed on the primary farmland property – the “parent tract of ground,” as Letavic refers to it. A farmer would not be allowed to subdivide and split off lots just to operate a side business.

The intent is to preserve the township’s agricultural character, yet give farmers more options for added income so they don’t have to give up farming.

The proposed changes are based on input from farmers, Letavic said. The township also utilized input from its engineer, solicitor, planning commission and a consultant from Urban Research and Development Corp., a land planning firm from Bethlehem.

The changes also incorporate input from township residents at previous public hearings.

The township plans to update all of its zoning ordinances, LetaviC said. Starting with the ag district made sense, in that 84 percent of township land is zoned agricultural, he said.

Letavic does not expect supervisors to act on the changes Tuesday. Supervisors will take some time to consider input from the hearing, and act on the proposed changes at a later public meeting.

The text of the proposed ordinance can be found on the township’s Web site, http://londonderrypa.org/#gsc.tab=0

Dan Miller: 717-944-4628, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 August 2014 18:37

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Steel-High AD to replace Deibler at Susquehanna Twp.

After serving for one year as Steelton-Highspire’s athletic director, Andrae Martin is resigning to pursue another opportunity.

The Steelton-Highspire School Board voted 8-0 on Thursday, Aug. 21 to accept his resignation effective no later than Oct. 19, or until his positions as athletic director and as a teacher in the district’s Alternative Education for Disruptive Youth program, are filled.

Martin has accepted a position with Susquehanna Twp. School District as an assistant principal and athletic director. As athletic director, he would replace Rob Deibler, the former Middletown and Steelton-Highpsire football coach.

Deibler was placed on administrative leave in Susquehanna Twp. after he was charged by Lower Swatara Twp. police in May with failure to make required disposition of funds received for allegedly using more than $7,300 in proceeds from fundraisers for the Middletown football program on his own bills, according to a probable cause affidavit that police filed in court.


Deibler waived the charge to Dauphin County Court.


A former athletic director, Michael Knill, had served as Susquehanna Twp.’s acting athletic director for the district since June 24 at a rate of $225 per day in Deibler’s absence.

“I’m just looking forward to the opportunity to join their team [at Susquehanna Twp.] and I’m thankful for the opportunities I was afforded at Steel-High,” Martin said.
Steelton-Highspire Superintendent Ellen Castagneto had positive things to say about Martin.

“We wish him well with his future endeavors,” Castagneto said. “He has helped the district tremendously in working with our students and families as a teacher, and also in the initial stages of fundraising for events.”


Noelle Barrett: 717-944-4628, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 August 2014 18:36

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Group goes to court to leave Steel-High

A group of Highspire residents has filed a petition in Dauphin County Court – the first step in a lengthy process – to leave Steelton-Highspire School District and send their children to Middletown Area School District instead.

The group, known as the Highspire Education Coalition, filed the petition in Dauphin County Court on Friday, Aug. 15. The coalition first organized in February, and spent several months collecting signatures of support from Highspire taxpayers to transfer the borough from the Steelton-Highspire School District to Middletown Area . . .

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 August 2014 18:36

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Suspected daytime burglar nabbed

 

Middletown police say they caught a burglary suspect in the act in broad daylight on Tuesday, Aug. 19 in the east end of town.

 

Borough police say that Eric S. Heck, 30, from Harrisburg, was seen going in and out of three homes in the area of East Emaus and Rupp streets at about 11:30 a.m.

 

He ran from the scene toward Hoffer Park when police approached. Officers chased Heck on foot and after a brief struggle placed him under arrest near the edge of the park, police said.

 

One Middletown officer received minor injuries in the struggle, according to unconfirmed reports. Borough police were assisted at the scene by officers from Royalton and Lower Swatara Twp.

 

Heck was treated at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and released.

 

Police have charged Heck with three felony counts of burglary, three felony counts of criminal trespass, two felony counts of aggravated assault; and one misdemeanor count each of escape, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

 

Heck was arraigned and held in Dauphin County Prison on $150,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is set for 11 a.m. Aug. 29 before District Judge David Judy.

 

EmausRobberyMap 2


 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 18:19

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Council nixes veto, raises rates for water and sewer

Water and sewer rates with be going up for Middletown residents and businesses now that Middletown Borough Council has overridden Mayor James H. Curry III’s earlier veto of a rate increase . . .

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 August 2014 19:39

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