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Plans for warehouse near UPS hub on North Union being revised

By Laura Hayes

laurahayes@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 7/1/20

The Lower Swatara Planning Commission tabled plans for a warehouse on land south of the future UPS distribution hub and nearby quarries on June 25. 

Byler Quarries LLC, based in Lebanon, …

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Plans for warehouse near UPS hub on North Union being revised

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The Lower Swatara Planning Commission tabled plans for a warehouse on land south of the future UPS distribution hub and nearby quarries on June 25. 

Byler Quarries LLC, based in Lebanon, submitted the plans  and will be back before the commission July 23.

Byler plans to address several issues before then. Representatives will go before the township’s zoning hearing board Thursday to discuss a variance for the height of the building, and they will work with the township on paperwork for sewer planning. They also plan to discuss easements for a future gravity sewer system and an easement along the Swatara Creek for any future stream restoration projects. Engineers are waiting for infiltration reports for the stormwater management system as well.

Byler wants to build the warehouse on 19 acres in the southwest corner of a larger 111-acre parcel in the 2000 block of North Union Street. Those 19 acres are in the industrial zone of the township.

The warehouse is proposed to be 246,400 square feet with 97 truck parking stalls and 169 parking spaces.

During the meeting, Michael Swank, who is the operations direction of the real estate division of Byler Holdings, said it has not been determined if the warehouse will be leased or sold.

The deed was transferred to Byler Holdings for $5,050,000 in February. Township Planning and Zoning Coordinator Ann Hursh said Byler will need to return to the township once it gets a tenant to make sure the tenant complies with zoning ordinances.

Some commission members asked about traffic increases.

Commission Vice Chairman Eric Breon said he is concerned that the township doesn’t yet know what will fill the space.

“Now we’re going to add between one and a million more every day — trucks coming into that corridor,” Breon said, exaggerating the total to make his point.

North Union Street is a township-owned road.

“I know everybody says it’s covered,” Breon said, referring to developers and companies who build in the township. “I hear you. I believe you if you’re saying it’s covered, but you didn’t have people accost you out in the parking lot after the UPS thing as a reminder to what they might be worried about, shall we say. Some of us might have been accosted as we left the building,” Breon said.

Township commissioners approved plans for UPS’ distribution facility in November 2018 despite concerns from some residents, many of which centered on traffic.

UPS is building a 775,033-square-foot “super-hub” on a 192.19 acre site in the 2100 block of North Union Street along with a 3,467-square-foot retail center.

For the Byler project, Swank said the company prepared a traffic study that was submitted to the township’s contracted engineering firm, HRG. The road and nearby traffic signal is adequate, he said.

“I don’t believe there’s an issue there as far as the traffic projections,” Swank said.

Access to the warehouse is proposed off North Union Street.

“Look, it’s a natural takeoff of the UPS facility. Let’s get real. It makes perfectly logical sense, and it’s a natural continuation of the warehouses that are already out there. So it all makes perfectly logical sense,” Breon said.

Previous comprehensive plans identified that area for this type of development, he said.

The Byler warehouse would be served by public water and sewer, which is being extended along the front of Byler’s tract as part of the new UPS distribution center.

“It just so happened that the timing worked out and it was not by design, but with the UPS facility being constructed and water and sewer being extended as part of their project, we were able to time those extensions for what we had installed,” Swank said.

The warehouse would be south of the UPS warehouse, and about a third of its size, the planning commission noted.

As part of its plans, UPS has agreed to several improvements, including reconstructing North Union Street from the intersection of North Union and eastbound Route 283 to its site entrance and construct a pump station that would serve the facility.

Breon asked if Byler was going to be responsible for any of the improvements.

“Not unless UPS wants them” to be, Hursh said.

“I was going to say, if I was UPS, I would be asking you to help pay because whether it was intentional or not, you’re certainly riding along with them there,” Breon said.

“I’m not going to say it wasn’t a little bit of good luck on our part,” Swank said.

He said Byler has been “trying to be a good neighbor” and working with UPS on water, sewer and the widening of North Union.

Byler wants all of its traffic to go south toward Fulling Mill Road and plans to restrict trucks from traveling north toward UPS using signs and the geometry of the entrance.

Breon asked if a traffic restriction can be placed on its deed.

“Let’s be real. They could sell the property in a heartbeat and then we’ve got nothing” in the way of a traffic agreement, he said.

Swank said a restriction will be in the plans recorded at the Dauphin County Courthouse. Township solicitor Peter Henninger suggested it could be included in an agreement with the developers as well.