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This article was funded by LebTown donors as part of our Civic Impact Reporting Project.

On Monday, the South Londonderry Historical Commission (SLHC) met with Rising Sun owner Alan Funck and Randy Wright of Hanover Engineering to discuss the Rising Sun expansion project.

The project involves the renovation of one part of a historic structure and the demolition of another part.

SLT Zoning Section 488 requires that to demolish a historic structure, developers must obtain conditional use by meeting with the SLHC or the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission. This meeting is purely informative, and developers are not bound to the advice received therein.

The Rising Sun (right) and the historical structure in question (left). Google Maps.

A 2003 PennDOT historical survey found the property, as well as nearby structures, were eligible to be considered an historic district. The oldest part of the building dates back to around 1843, local historian Don Rhoads told attendee Pat Krebs.

Funck’s plans for the property are to renovate a third of it to serve as an outdoor bar/patio and demolish the remainder for additional parking.

Randy Wright gestures to a plan for the Rising Sun expansion. (Emily Bixler)

Wright presented the commission with documentation including the historic deed and historic photos of the structure before explaining why he felt full preservation of the property is not possible. He said that:

  • bringing the building up to current code would be costly.
  • many beams have been damaged over the years by water and insects.
  • many original elements of the building have already been replaced or are deteriorated.
  • new utility services, i.e. electric heating and air conditioning, would require heavy modifications to be made.
  • adding required handicap accessibility would require heavy modifications and be costly.
  • possible usages are limited by the site’s commercial zoning, which would also require additional parking.

As of now, the site’s basement has already been filled. Wright mentioned that the property has had extensive water damage over the years as it is located over a spring.

In response to an audience question, Wright said that they do not expect the spring to cause degradation of the parking lot, as their stormwater management plan was approved in January.

He said that Funck plans to keep some of the limestone facade on the west part of the building to screen the new parking lot from Route 322.

Google Maps view of the property in question. The west half, adjacent to the Rising Sun, is limestone, while the east half is stone.

Funck also said that they planned to use some of the stone from the east half of the building in renovations, and will sell what they don’t use.

“That was one of our concerns: we wanted to see some of the stone on the outside of that building be repurposed or reused somehow just to keep a portion of that historic building available,” said commission chair Cindy Skinner.

The SLHC also suggested adding a plaque detailing the historic nature of the property or letting Rising Sun patrons scan a QR code inside the restaurant detailing the history of the property.

Several members of the public expressed displeasure with the demolition of the property. In response to an audience question, Wright said that a structural engineer focused on preservation has not reviewed the property.

Wright also said the site was not mentioned on a 2013 list of historic places, but attendee J.V. Bennett said this list was not meant to be extensive.

As of now, no preliminary/final plan has been proposed for the property. Wright said this will be forthcoming at a future meeting of the township board of supervisors.

South Londonderry Township supervisors meet at 27 W. Market St. on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. The next meeting will be held March 14 and the next workshop will be held March 21. These meetings are open to the public and do not require registration.

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Emily Bixler

Emily Bixler was born and raised in Lebanon and now reports on local government. In her free time, she enjoys playing piano and going for hikes.


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