Borough OKs ‘Deck’ expansion

By on October 5, 2011

By: GARY P. KLINGER Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

One of the most popular seasonal eateries in town is getting a "deck-lift."

Owners of The Dutchmaid Deck at 222 North Reading Road got borough council’s green light to move forward with plans to renovate and expand the warm-weather gathering spot.

A number of motions approving those plans were included in last Monday night’s borough council consent agenda. In reviewing plans presented by David Christian and Associates, Inc. of Manheim, council members were in agreement that proper provisions had been met and conditions stated. Christian was requesting eight modifications including a waiver of the preliminary plan so as to approved the plans as the final plan.

Plans call for the facility to be expanded and renovated with additional parking added. The changes, which will largely affect the outdoor portion of the facility, are planned for completion during the off-season with hopes of completion in time for next spring.

Borough staff had reported that the plan had 54 comments which needed to be addressed. Christian indicated that most of the comments were minor and had been addressed since his submissions of the plans for borough review.

Motions included approval of the preliminary and final plan as well as waivers or modifications regarding straight driveway length, deferred installation of sidewalks and paths and provisions for street trees. A number of provisions also approved plans for storm water management.

Council was also satisfied that comments cited in a memorandum from borough Zoning and Codes Administrator Nancy Harris had been successfully addressed by both the owner and developer.

In other borough development news;

Council is directing borough solicitor James McManus to appear before the Borough Zoning Hearing Board in opposition to the application concerning plans to alter a non-conforming use for outdoor events with music request at the Amvets Home Association, located at 614 South State Street.

Committee Chair Susan Rowe explained that the intent of McManus’ appearance was to express council’s opposition, since the Amvets is located in a portion of town zoned residential medium density and is surrounded by homes.

Rowe cited a number of ordinances which would be breached if the project were to be approved. One such ordinance regarding off street parking requires one space per employee plus one per one-thousand square feet. With plans calling for expansion to accommodate over 1,500 people for outdoor events, Rowe said she was concerned parking would overflow onto the streets. In addition, she was concerned about the noise nuisance created by such events.

Even with more modern lighting techniques which could be employed, Rowe expressed her committee’s concern that light pollution could be but one of the problems encountered if the plans were approved.

"Some ordinances with regard to light and glare state that there can be no light from one property going beyond lot boundaries," said Rowe. "(The Amvets) want to put security flood lights on the property."

For his part, McManus sought some clarification of what direction he was to pursue.

"Sue raises good points," said McManus, "which would usually come out of these meetings. I have reviewed the application and regardless of whether it asks for non-conforming use, they are asking for modifications of agreements from 2008 and that is the important thing. I could cite what an applicant must fulfill in order to get those conditions changed. My approach at the hearing would be along the lines of Sue’s concerns but also in law those items opposed but never appealed from the 2008 agreement."

Mayor Ralph Mowen weighed in on the matter.

"I understand totally the predicament we’re in," said Mowen. "I do hope you understand this is not in opposition to the organization but it is the surrounding residents we are concerned about."

Mowen added that he had been approached about writing a letter of support for the project.

"Even though I totally support the Amvets and I myself am a vet, in that environment I could not support it," he added.

Council also voted to submit a letter of support for the 322 corridor congestion mitigation project as a 2012 submission for the Lancaster County Smart Growth Transportation Program. Ephrata Township will be the principal party making application to the program since most of the projects of concern will be located along that part of the corridor from the intersection of Route 222. In addition to the projects already underway for construction of a new LCBC Church along Hahnstown Road and the new Sheetz, the township is working through plans for a new Giant food store which could further impact traffic along Route 322.

"We want to add our letter of support from the borough because we would like some say with what happens," said Highway Committee Chair Robert Good, "but this is also very important with the projects looking to come in with regard to bottlenecking in the area. We are very interested in this important project and want to tie in with Ephrata Township in support of it."

Interim Borough Manager Robert Thompson reviewed the request with the Committee regarding what amounts to a new grant program from Lancaster County. This program replaces the Municipal Transportation Grant program from previous years. Eligible projects must be related to the principles of creating a range of housing opportunities, walkable communities, encouraging stakeholder collaboration, foster distinctive, attractive communities with a sense of place, make decisions predictable, fair and cost effective, mixed land uses, preservation of open space, provide a variety of transportation choices, strengthen and direct development towards existing communities and take advantage of compact building designs.

Thompson attended a grant workshop along with Councilman George DiIlio, and recommended that the Committee consider the 322 corridor congestion mitigation project as a submission in 2012. More DECK, page A6

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