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Carlisle council to study ordinance restricting warehouse access

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In a move that would affect Goodman Birtcher's plan for 2.5 million square feet of warehouses, Carlisle Borough Council is considering an ordinance to restrict access to such sites.

If passed, the ordinance could forbid roads from being built across property not zoned for the use the road would service. Council directed its solicitor to draft a proposed ordinance Thursday night.

The proposed ordinance could hurt Goodman Birtcher's plan, which calls for rezoning 86 acres in Dickinson Township's business recreation district along Allen Road to business industrial.

Once Dickinson votes, Carlisle will take up the plan. Goodman Birtcher is asking the borough to permit warehousing in the I-C zoning district so it can construct a road to the facility. The road would allow trucks to access the facility from Allen Road.

Opponents have suggested the warehouse plan could end up in court. A recent Goodman Birtcher letter outlined five court cases that uphold the legality of granting access to a use in one zoning district through land in another zoning district where the use is not permitted.

Borough council voted 4-2 to draft the proposed ordinance and will hold a public hearing on the amendment at 6:30 p.m. May 8.

Nathan Wolf, a Carlisle attorney and leader of opposition to the warehouse project, said this morning the proposed ordinance "reflects the community's expressed desire to find productive uses for land in growth areas other than warehouses."

Tom Ahern, spokesman for Goodman Birtcher, did not respond to emails or phone messages this morning.

In a recent 11-page letter by attorney Charles Courtney of McNees Wallace and Nurick in Harrisburg, Goodman Birtcher said its plan will create 900 jobs, 80 percent of which will be permanent positions. Part of the plan is in South Middleton Township, but rezoning is not required there.

Tom Ahern, spokesman for Goodman Birtcher, said the company would like to limit the amount of truck traffic flowing onto Route 11. To do that means accessing Allen Road, he added in a statement.

“There seems to be a fair amount of gamesmanship going on, but the fact remains that Goodman’s right to access their property from Allen Road is no longer in dispute,” Ahern said. “It is a shame that Carlisle is taking steps to exclude themselves from the project's benefits, as many in  the borough would like to see new revenue sources that don’t come from homeowners.”

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