Mushroom Hill Warehouse Proposal: Argument

The Mushroom Hill Warehouse Proposal included a Conditional Use Application submitted to Swatara Township Commission on September 6, 2019. Updated amendments followed on November 13, 2019.

CRG Inegrated Real Estate Solutions (CRG) submitted testimony on October 9, 2019, including Exhibits 1 through 17. The Testimony was amended to include 17a on November 13, 2019. CRG’s proposal evidenced deficiencies, and should be rejected. The proposal is general, vague and without substantiation. CRG’s submission lacks evidence, facts, and supporting documentation.

Finally, the proposal is procedurally deficient. Specifically, the Traffic Study is premature, out of order, and reliant on dated material.

On Conditional Use

When an applicant like CRG applies for a special exception, and provides sufficient evidence establishing that the application complies with an ordinance’s general requirements, an objector opposing the application has the burden to establish, to a high degree of probability, that the proposed use would be detrimental to the public health, safety, or welfare. [Tower Access Grp., LLC v. S. Union Twp. Zoning Hearing Bd., 192 A.3d 291, (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2018), appeal denied 2019 Pa. LEXIS 1392, July 30, 2018].

In other words, the ball is in the objectors’ court. However, the parameters of the court changed last year. The 2018 case of EQT v. Borough of Jefferson Hills created a precedent that allows community concerns to be factored into the decision-making of the Swatara Township Commissioners.

Swatara Township also has provisions to protect the character of the existing neighborhood. The Application explicitly states, “The proposal should not substantially change the character of any surrounding residential after considering any proposed conditions upon approval, such as limits upon hours of operation; safety.” (Conditional Use Application, 5. Neighborhood.)

Mushroom Hill Warehouse Proposal: Conclusion

The sum total of CRG’s 17 exhibits include:

  • One (1) promotional brochure
  • Three (3) biographies
  • A purchase agreement
  • Three (3) deed searches performed without due diligence
  • Four (4) traffic and transportation surveys approved by no one, based on outdated information, and at odds with approved planning documents from Dauphin County, HATS, and the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission
  • Three (3) site plans produced without appropriate details

As previously stated in an interview with The Patriot-News:

“This is democracy in action. It’s very heartening to see a community have their voices heard … the community was involved.”

We invite readers in search of more in-depth information to read the entirety of the Findings of Fact related to this proposal.