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Lytle Farms warehouse plan receives approval from supervisors

By Laura Hayes

laurahayes@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 6/24/20

A developer has the green light to build two warehouses on a 90-acre tract in Londonderry Township known as Lytle Farms.

Township supervisors unanimously approved land development plans at their …

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Lytle Farms warehouse plan receives approval from supervisors

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A developer has the green light to build two warehouses on a 90-acre tract in Londonderry Township known as Lytle Farms.

Township supervisors unanimously approved land development plans at their June 16 meeting, although they expressed concerns about truck traffic heading toward Vine Street in Middletown and noise from brakes.

The warehouses will be located east of the Swatara Creek and north of Route 230, bordered by Iron Mine and Swatara Creek roads, just east of Middletown.

The plan is being developed by Core5 Industrial Partners, who is one of two developers pledging a combined $15 million to bring public sewer to their sites and along Route 230.

Core5 plans to build two warehouses on the site. The main access to the site will be off Route 230, and vehicles will either enter into the 552,720-square-foot facility or continue on to a 201,600-square-foot warehouse.

Combined, there will be 447 employee parking spots and 151 trailer stalls at the warehouses.

Project engineer John Murphy said Core5 does not yet have a tenant for the warehouses.

There are floodplains on the western portion of the site. Murphy said developers are asking for a conditional letter of map revision with the Federal Emergency Management Agency because the floodplain touches the smaller warehouse.

According to FEMA’s website, a conditional letter of map revision is the agency’s comment on a project which would “affect the hydrologic or hydraulic characteristics of a flooding source and thus result in the modification of the existing regulatory floodway.”

During a planning commission meeting June 15, Murphy said developers plan to modify the floodplain line using fill and grading, and when development is done, no building, structure or development will be in the 100-year floodplain.

Hundreds of acres of the tract known as Lytle Farms have been discussed for potential development for years, including a past proposal for 1,600 homes.

In the past, the township has said a different developer is still interested in developing land to the south of Route 230, which is not part of the warehouse project.

Supervisor concerns about traffic

The supervisors had several traffic-related concerns — visibility turning onto Route 230 from Colebrook Road; the manner in which trucks will be prohibited from exiting the site toward Vine Street; and noise from brakes.

“Is anything being done with the intersection of Colebrook Road and 230 in this project?” asked Vice Chairman Bart Shellenhamer. “Right now, you sit at Colebrook and you look right, and the site access can’t be there. I’m sorry. I travel it every day. … When you sit at that intersection, you cannot see right. Is there something being done?”

Traffic engineer Craig Mellott said vegetation will be cleared from the site driveway to Colebrook, which he said will open the sight line. Vegetation to the east of Colebrook in the right of way also will be trimmed.

Mellott said the transportation impact study took into account traffic generated from the Lytle Farms project but also Core5’s other projects — at the former Saturday’s Market; a property behind the market known as School Heights Village; and another warehouse development on the eastern edge of the township that was also approved during the meeting.

He said township ordinance requires access to an arterial street. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation asked the developers to look at access to the site off other roads, such as Iron Mine or Colebrook, Mellott said.

A Colebrook access would have environmental and grading issues, but Mellott said the developers wanted to minimize the impact from the warehouses on residents on Colebrook.

The main access will be off Route 230 with an emergency access off Iron Mine Road. Route 230 will be widened to accommodate left- and right-hand turn lanes approaching the driveway.

A majority of the trucks will get to the site using Route 283, to Toll House Road and Route 230, Mellott said.

“How are we going to persuade the traffic to take that course? Because Vine Street is a real right swing there at the cemetery,” asked Supervisor Ron Kopp.

Mellott said Core5 is going to prohibit trucks from turning right from their site using signs. If trucks continue to use it, PennDOT has a process to evaluate truck prohibitions.

The township has had issues with trucks using Deodate Road to go to the Conewago Industrial Park.

The drivers may know there are truck stops on Vine Street or their GPS may direct them there, said Supervisor Anna Dale.

“That corner [of Vine and 230] is terrible, and I usually travel that intersection every day. The trucks who drive it frequently know they have to turn wide to get through the intersection. There’s the curb there. There’s traffic lights. It’s just something I think we have to be a lot more cognizant of rather than just trucks don’t turn right. I think there has to be a little bit more attention put on that, emphasizing that they need to go up to Toll House,” Dale said.

Using that route, Kopp expressed concern about the noise from the trucks’ brake retarder.

It needs to be addressed now, said Chairman Mike Geyer. Geyer said he heard the brakes from trucks coming down the Route 230 hill toward Saturday’s Market every day.

“It is very annoying, and I’m a person that’s used to trucks and noise and all that stuff,” he said.

Mellott said it could be restricted based on the number of residences nearby. Core5 agreed to prepare the necessary forms.

Paul Gallo was the only resident who spoke during the hearing. Gallo suggested signs so that trucks don’t accidentally turn onto Colebrook and reducing the speed limit along Colebrook Road from the intersection of Colebrook and Route 230 about a mile up Colebrook, where there are homes. The speed limit is 35 mph.