Cold Summit Development has dropped its plans for a massive cold storage warehouse near the junction of the Norfolk Southern line and Route 419 in Millcreek Township, the developers informed Womelsdorf Borough late last week.
“Cold Summit Development has decided to not close on the Zimmerman property and has since ceased all operations related to our Cold Storage project,” said Matt Anderson, vice president of development for Cold Summit, in a May 6 email with the subject “Cold Summit Project Termination” sent to Womelsdorf officials.
“We thank you for all of your engagement and feedback thus far and wish you, your families and the community all the best going forward.”
Womelsdorf Borough president Bruce Edwards, one of the officials included on the email, said that he and others in the borough were relieved to see the plans dropped.
“I’m not against development,” said Edwards, noting that some people seem opposed to anything being built anywhere, but “there was no way the truck traffic could have been accommodated.”
“It wouldn’t have worked for them.”
The facility had been proposed for a 140-acre site in Millcreek Township that is known as the Zimmerman farm and has been zoned industrial since the 1970s.
After a traffic impact study showed that the facility would increase activity on local roadways by approximately 1,400 vehicle trips daily, borough officials raised major concerns about the viability of the plan. Borough officials said that given the difficulty trucks already have in navigating turns such as the one at Third and High streets, just up Route 419 from the proposed site, the plan did not seem feasible.
With little to no direct ability to influence the plans, Womelsdorf Borough initiated a writing campaign to relevant elected officials, including Gov. Tom Wolf, state Rep. Barry Jozwiak (R-5), and state Senator David Argall (R-29), as well as the Lebanon County and Berks County commissioners.
It’s not clear whether there was a specific reason for Cold Summit’s change of plans, but Edwards said that the offices included in the writing campaign reported an influx of citizens voicing concerns about the plan.
“We’re all happy that project isn’t going through,” said Edwards.
Cold Summit did not respond to requests for comment regarding the decision, or whether they would seek sites for the facility elsewhere in the area.
Contacted Monday, Millcreek Township said that it had not heard from the company directly about its change in plans. An email to Millcreek chairman Dan Hogeland asking for further comment had not been returned as of publication time.
“The residents feedback on our Facebook page was very positive,” said Womelsdorf Borough manager Nicholas Imbesi about the public reaction to the news.
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