Tensions ran high Monday night between Lower Nazareth Township residents and representatives for Greenfield Builders Inc. over a proposed warehouse. At one point, the chairwoman of the township’s Planning Commission had to stop a heated exchange before it went too far.
When Thomas Schray, who lives at 4845 Hanoverville Road, was told that a proposed warehouse operation -- the Greenfield Industrial Park -- would run 24 hours, he asked four Greenfield Builders representatives if they could live 120 feet from 18-wheelers that will make up to 4,000 trips per day.
He hit a nerve.
Jim Preston, an attorney speaking for Greenfield Builders, inched closer to the edge of his seat. He started to point in Schray's direction and began to respond. Linda Crook and her fellow commission members then felt the exchange had gone far enough.
The men composed themselves.
The meeting started innocently enough, with representatives for Greenfield Builders requesting the board’s approval for a revised final land development plan.
The plan in question is for the proposed 81-acre Greenfield Industrial Park near the intersection of Hanoverville Road and Keystone Drive. According to Preston, the plan was given final conditional approval in 2006, but the plans have since changed.
Instead of building three separate warehouses, the developer is suggesting just one warehouse.
“The basic layout would be the same,” Preston said, adding that the total building coverage would be reduced from 38 percent to 31 percent.
But with C&S Wholesale Grocers already at their doorsteps, neighbors aren’t happy with the idea of Greenfield Industrial Park moving in.
Ben Flurer, who lives directly across the street from C&S, said he was under the assumption that a 30-foot berm was to be installed to help keep noise at bay and hide the view of the warehouse.
According to a report in The Morning Call, the developer proposed fencing and a 20-foot-high earth berm to reduce the effect of lighting and noise on residents.
“There’s a 10-foot hill,” Flurer said. “We weren’t supposed to see any part of that building. I can see into the break room. My house is watched 24 hours a day. I have guards watching my house.”
Vernon Snyder, who lives at 4835 Hanoverville Road, said nearby residents are “smothered by diesel fuel.”
“How much more do you people expect us to put up with?” Snyder asked.
Preston reminded Planning Commission members that the plan was given final conditional approval in 2006, and the residents’ concerns had nothing to do with Monday night’s request.
“We’re not here to deal with the consequences that come with putting a warehouse at this site,” Preston said. “We lived this for a year. These concerns were captured through conditional use. That ship has sailed.”
Preston added that the revised plan reduces the building coverage and is “an improvement over the prior plan.”
Schray feels his property -- and his neighbors’ -- will be “worthless” if the plans move forward.
“You see the mess you have across the street,” Schray said. “Look at the litter, look at the roads, look at the trucks. Now you’re inviting more. The lights are above the berms, the top of the tractor trailers are above the berms. … The property values are going to diminish. They’re going to be worthless. I guess we’re just going to have to swallow that.”
Stuart Schooley, co-owner of Dutch Springs, said he opposed a 24-hour operation -- especially because of the campgrounds on his property -- asking that the operation be closed from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
The Planning Commission tabled the request until it can consult with Gary Asteak, the township’s attorney, to determine if final land development approval can be reversed or, at the very least, tweaked.