Borough’s statement regarding proposed Chick-fil-A restaurant

Borough’s statement regarding proposed Chick-fil-A restaurant
Feb. 28, 2019

There has been considerable discussion among Borough residents, in public meetings and in the news and social media, regarding a proposal to build a Chick-fil-A restaurant at 32nd and Chestnut streets. Following is information about the process of assessing a development proposal and determining its suitability.

A property owner has the right to use his/her property in conformance with applicable zoning designations and regulations. The parcel in question is zoned for commercial use, and a restaurant is one of numerous permitted uses in a commercial zone. The Borough’s role, with this or any other development proposal, is to assure the developer identifies issues that could negatively impact residents and/or other businesses and provides remedies that mitigate the negative impacts.

The developer is entitled to complete this process. Once the process is completed, the Borough Council will decide whether to approve or reject the proposal, based in part on whether potential negative impacts have been addressed and remedied. If the developer cannot mitigate the negative impacts and is not compliant with the zoning and Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance, the plan can be denied.

In keeping with the strong recommendation of legal counsel, Camp Hill Borough is committed to completing the development process, respecting the developer’s property rights and protecting the interests of the Borough and its residents. Terminating the development process before it is complete, or as one resident suggested, simply “letting (the developers) sue you,” would be irresponsible and could expose the Borough and its residents to significant financial consequences.

For example, a federal court jury once determined that Susquehanna Township officials deprived a developer of due process by improperly denying a building permit. The developer received a $4 million settlement. The decision had significant negative consequences for the township, its residents and the individual defendants in the lawsuit as the case advanced over several years.

To date, neither the Borough Planning Commission (in its advisory role) nor the Council has received enough information to assess whether the development proposal is suitable. Residents, quite justifiably, have raised concerns about increased traffic through an intersection that already is one of the busiest in Cumberland County. The developer is entitled to present data on impacts of the project on existing traffic and demonstrate how the impact of any additional traffic could be mitigated. We look forward to reviewing that information, along with the final development proposal, and making a fair and responsible decision.

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