The Berks-Mont News (http://www.berksmontnews.com)

Residents oppose warehouse plan at Morgantown Airport property

Current zoning restricts large warehouses in Industrial Office Park district

By Carol Quaintance , For Digital First Media

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

About 120 residents voiced their opposition to a developer’s proposal to build a warehouse distribution center at the Morgantown Airport property during the Jan. 9 Caernarvon Township Berks Board of Supervisors meeting.

Orchard Industrial Developers presented to the Board of Supervisors their proposal to build a warehouse distribution center at the Morgantown Airport, 590 Willow Glen Road.

Concerns expressed by residents included the location’s proximity to residential developments, excessive truck traffic, and dangers from diesel exhaust to children of the area, particularly the schools, according to Caernarvon Township Administrator and Township Secretary Randy Miller.

“The Supervisors thanked the residents for coming to the meeting to hear the presentation and express their concerns,” said Miller.

Miller said no action was taken by supervisors.

“Current zoning precludes a warehouse in the Industrial Office Park district,” said Miller. “In December, the township amended the zoning of Industrial Office Park (IOP) to regulate certain permitted uses in the district to retail purposes, restricting large warehouses.”

Local business and property owners joined residents to hear the presentation and express concerns. The crowd spilled out into the hallway.

Roseann Thomas, former president of Morgantown Business Association, told the Tri County Record, “I personally oppose any building of a warehouse distribution center in that area. The truck traffic would be horrendous. There are much better options that are adjacent to the turnpike.”

Pamela Van der Laan, owner of the Clocktower Market Place in Morgantown, told the Tri County Record, “This will not help small businesses in Morgantown and the surrounding area. Speculation is that 350 trucks daily will be using the facility, greatly increasing traffic on Route 23 and surrounding roads. In addition to the road congestion and air pollution, safety will be an issue. People are concerned about their property values decreasing. The $12 an hour jobs they offer will little help our area’s economy compared to the truckers’ pay and their profit. Our community needs small businesses.”

Concerned citizens are collecting signatures on a circulating petition opposing any changes to the zoning. The petition reads, “Oppose Use of Morgantown Airport Property as Warehouse Distribution Center.”