During their meeting on Tuesday, February 14, the Allen Township Board of Supervisors approved a 75-acre major subdivision plan at 700 Savage Rd., the site of a former quarry. The decision is the result of a zoning appeal and 2021 court settlement between the township and property owner, Kay Krapf of K&H Development LLC. The decision was made, in the words of supervisors, “regretfully.”
Township Solicitor Lincoln Treadwell explained the township’s long history with the property to a room filled with concerned residents. From 2017 to 2018, the township updated its comprehensive plan and rezoned several sections of the township. One such parcel was 700 Savage Rd., changing it from industrial, which it had been for over two decades, to residential. This change was adopted in December 2018. However, before supervisors voted to approve this change, the property owner submitted plans for a 40,000-square-foot warehouse.
What resulted was over two years of hearings, with allegations lobbied against the township, including one that the township “conspired” to reject the plan. After spending over $83,000 to fight this plan in court, legal representatives recommended that the township accept a settlement splitting the property into two zones, with residential frontage and industrial development in the back.
“We tried our best,” said Supervisor Dale Hassler. “But if we kept going and would have lost, there could be warehouses on Atlas Road…we made the best possible deal we could with the situation we were in.”
Treadwell explained that this is a “by-right plan.” If supervisors were to vote no, they could face sanctions in court.
Engineers for the property were present during the meeting and presented their subdivision plan. The property will be divided into six lots. Three lots, each between three and four acres, will be zoned industrial. Lot Four is five acres with frontage along Atlas Road. That lot is zoned residential. Lot Five is 47 acres and is home to an existing single-family dwelling. Lot Six is seven acres. This lot also has frontage along Atlas Road and will have residences developed in the future. The plan was approved by Allen Township’s Planning Commission and a waiver was requested for preliminary-final approval.
While part of the subdivision is zoned industrial, engineers did not confirm whether a warehouse will be built. However, Treadwell said it is likely.
“The plan that is in front of this board tonight is a subdivision plan that cuts the property into a number of lots,” explained Treadwell. “There is a high probability that a land development plan will come in with a warehouse on it…but that has not been submitted yet.”
This prospect concerned the residents in attendance, many of whom said their quality of life is being destroyed by the influx of warehouse development in the township.
“The quality of life is beginning to deteriorate, and it will get much worse,” said one resident.
He said the township needs to work with PennDOT to improve roads and infrastructure and limit truck traffic. Though the township cannot fight the warehouses, they can fight their effects.
“What are minor annoyances right now can turn into major dilemmas,” he added.
Other residents said they would like traffic and environmental studies done to see what the effects would be of this development. Another resident added that he would like the site of the former quarry inspected to make sure it has been properly filled.
According to Treadwell, there is not much land left in the township that is zoned industrial for warehouses to use.
Following this subdivision approval, property owners may submit a land development plan. That plan will be reviewed by the township engineer, planning commission, and Board of Supervisors to ensure that it follows zoning and other ordinances. Traffic impact studies may also be required.
The next Allen Township Board of Supervisors meeting will be Tuesday, February 28 at 6 p.m.