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

Cornwall Borough Council unanimously agreed on Monday, Dec. 11, to advertise a public hearing for the Byler zoning text amendment that would allow manufacturing uses in general industrial (GI) districts.

The hearing is scheduled for Jan. 2 at 6:30 p.m., giving council time to receive recommendations from Lebanon County Planning.

As of now, the location is to be determined, but council is looking for a larger venue to accommodate public comments.

The Cornwall Planning and Zoning Commission passed the amendment to council last week after ironing out details with involved parties.

The ordinance also removes manufacturing as a permitted limited industrial (LI) use, as well as makes several modifications to GI performance standards. Details on the amendment are included in LebTown’s previous coverage.

Read More: Planning commission advances zoning change fast-tracked for PRL Industries

The amendment, requested by Byler Holdings, has been fast-tracked as PRL Industries, a local submarine parts manufacturer, is on an extremely tight timeline.

While the amendment has been proposed due to PRL Industries’ hope to lease 10 acres of the property for at least 20 years, its passage would allow manufacturing uses on all 104 acres of the parent tract.

However, Byler representative Mike Swank said that around 60 acres of that tract is likely undevelopable due to slopes and/or wetlands.

Mike Swank of Byler Holdings speaks at Monday’s meeting.

Further requests from Byler will be considered after the January hearing, as details on the rest of the property are less time-sensitive.

Byler representatives have said that if this ordinance is passed, a large warehouse will no longer be under consideration for the GI portion of its property.

Read More: Byler Holdings hopes to strike warehouse plans, rent to PRL Industries

During public comment, Jeremy Zimmerman of Cornwall United 4 Responsible Development questioned the borough’s procedure for processing amendment requests.

Cornwall United presented “The Citizen’s Text Amendment” — which removes public warehousing as an LI permitted use and adds it as a general commercial (GC) permitted conditional use — to council in October.

Read More: Cornwall Borough Council refers citizen’s text amendment to ad hoc committee

The amendment was referred to planning and zoning, but no recommendation has been issued so far.

The board plans to process the amendment in January following the passage (or lack thereof) of Byler’s amendment, as it is time-sensitive. However, Zimmerman urged council to prioritize the citizen group’s amendment.

Jeremy Zimmerman voices his concerns Monday.

“Right now I feel like Cornwall Borough residents are giving up and making a change to one section for a particular entity here,” said Zimmerman. “The citizens are asking for something a little bit in return as far as moving this and looking to get that pushed through at the same time, since it’s addressing a lot of the same concerns that we have had for years now.”

In other news, the council:

  • Appointed Nathan Walmer to fill the council seat left by Al Brandt, who moved out of the borough. Further LebTown coverage is forthcoming.
  • Unanimously approved the end of Ron Ricard’s term as councilman, as he is letting his term expire.
  • Approved the 2024 budget, with Thomas Burton opposed.
  • Unanimously agreed to send a proposal for a four-day work week for municipal employees to the finance committee for their recommendation.
  • Unanimously agreed to send an application for the Marcellus Shale Grant for the Snitz Creek Park project.
  • Unanimously agreed to pay off a borough F-350 for $89,102.
  • Unanimously approved routine business including the approval of minutes and the annual disposition of records.

Cornwall Borough Council meets the second Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. These meetings are open to the public and do not require prior registration.

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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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