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A decision on whether a historic building on Campbelltown’s main street will be demolished to allow the expansion of a landmark restaurant will not be made until mid-March at the earliest, and could hinge on statements made in an obscure, 20-year-old survey.

Horseshoe Pike Enterprises LLC, owner of the Rising Sun Bar and Kitchen at 2850 Horseshoe Pike (U.S. Route 322), wants to partially demolish the pre-Civil War building it owns to the tavern’s west to create additional dining facilities.

The Rising Sun is operated by Funcks Restaurant Group, owner or operator of nine restaurants and taverns in Central Pennsylvania.

According to a 2003 “Historic Resource Survey Form” authored by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, the property targeted for demolition at 2856 Horseshoe Pike has had a number of commercial uses over the years. It is currently used as an apartment building.

The two-story building was built in two stages. The half nearest the tavern is made of brick; the other half, limestone.

At their January meeting, South Londonderry supervisors approved a stormwater runoff plan for parking at the property, but a demolition request was withdrawn from the agenda, according to township manager John Eberly.

Nevertheless, a number of residents showed up and voiced concern over the proposed destruction of half the building. They cited the 2003 PHMC survey and Section 488 of the township’s ordinances, which defines “historic structures” and lays out a number of conditions that have to be met before demolition can be approved.

According to the ordinance, “a process of public and technical review” is required “prior to the demolition of historic structures,” and “[n]o historic structure shall be demolished until the applicant has obtained conditional use approval and a zoning permit for such demolition.”

Faith Bucks, chair of the South Londonderry supervisors, told LebTown on Feb. 1 that neither issue had been resolved.

PHMC’s Frank Grumbine says the building fits the definition of “historic structure” in the township ordinance because it is in the “Campbelltown Eligible National Historic District” as determined by the 2003 survey, and that it has been “preliminarily determined to meet the criteria for listing in the National Register. Therefore, the building meets the definition of ‘Historic Structure’ under … the Township’s Zoning Ordinance.”

2003 Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission survey photo of the building proposed for partial demolition to create Rising Sun Bar & Restaurant parking lot. The building as since been renumbered to 2856. See the full survey document here (PDF).

Bucks told LebTown that, in light of PHMC’s preliminary conclusion, the township is “at this point stepping back and running through the process of Section 488 of the ordinance.”

That task will start with the township’s Historical Commission, which next meets on March 13. The meeting will be open to the public.

Depending on what the historical commission recommends, supervisors could take action on the demolition as early as their public meeting the following day, March 14.

Rising Sun operators Matt and Alan Funck had not responded to requests for comment by publication time.

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Chris Coyle

Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...


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