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Cornwall Borough Council unanimously agreed Monday to direct the borough planning commission to evaluate enacting a no-truck ordinance for Miners Village and Rexmont Road.

The ordinance was suggested by new councilman Tony Fitzgibbons.

“I drive through Miners Village usually twice a day, it’s tight, it doesn’t accommodate trucks, and I don’t think Rexmont Road is much better,” said Fitzgibbons. “I don’t know how they’re characterized under our ordinances for the types of roads, but it might be worth looking at to restrict truck traffic except for local deliveries and tri-axels.”

Attendees pointed out that Miners Village already has signage banning truck traffic not carrying local deliveries.

This comes as Byler Holdings has submitted a subdivision plan including 131 single-family detached homes. The subdivision is accessed through both Rexmont Road and privately owned Iron Valley Drive.

Rexmont Road Subdivision Plan.

Read More: Cornwall planning board seeks public comment on ‘Lake Resort’ amendment

While housing development is guaranteed by right in the 80 percent residential low-density property, planning commission chair Raymond Frattini has voiced concerns about the traffic generated by the property.

“What upsets me is where the traffic’s going,” Fratini said at a commission meeting earlier this month. “Rexmont Road itself is a narrow, windy little road that goes back down into the furnace. The roads were never built to take this amount of traffic in that little area.”

Council also discussed a possible policy — also suggested by Fitzgibbons — to deny projects likely to direct traffic onto Iron Valley Drive until the borough knows whether the roadway will remain private.

“Iron Valley, the status is a mess, but no matter what it is, if we’re gonna approve it and it’s gonna use that road for traffic, the planning has to account for it,” said Fitzgibbons. “If the planning accounts for it, then we gotta know it’s gonna be open, whether it be public private, we just need to know it’s gonna be open if it’s used for planning purposes.”

No action was taken, but the planning commission will evaluate the matter.

The northern part of Iron Valley Drive is owned by Byler Holdings and the southernmost part is owned by the Phase One Homeowner Association.

Julie Bowman of Iron Valley HOA 1 said that in a recent vote HOA members have unanimously agreed to keep the road private and not dedicate it to the borough. Bowman implored council and Byler Holdings to involve HOA 1 in planning for the site.

“Over the years we’ve defended Iron Valley Drive as a private road,” said Bowman. “If you believe our numbers in the traffic impact study that was done on Rexmont, the trips that are noticed as coming down Iron Valley Drive would result in a 500 percent increase in traffic over the heaviest day that we were able to count.

“We respectfully ask that council not consider or move forward with any development if Iron Valley Drive HOA 1 is not a part of that from the very beginning.”

Bowman said that measures including a gate to keep out illegal traffic have been floated by the HOA, though nothing is solid as of now. While there is an ongoing easement to allow golf club visitors to use the road, other nonlocal traffic is not permitted.

Also concerning Byler Holdings, Frattini requested that he be permitted to meet with borough alternate engineer Josh Weaber and other parties to fully evaluate both the Rexmont Road subdivision plan and the Lake Resort Community Text Amendment.

Frattini’s request was granted unanimously. He said he is looking not to come to a conclusion on either of these items, but to be able to understand at least one of them thoroughly prior to the planning commission’s March 4 meeting.

In other news, the council:

  • Reported that Lebanon City Planning has not yet responded to the Cornwall United 4 Responsible Development Text Amendment, but that they should provide feedback by next month’s meeting.

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

  • Heard public comment surrounding excessive speeding on Boyd Street, with speeds of over 100 mph being reported.
  • Unanimously agreed to request PennDOT to evaluate a probition on brake retarders for a portion of Route 322.
  • Tabled the adoption of the 2023 Hazard Mitigation Plan so Fitzgibbons can review it.
  • Unanimously agreed to authorize a traffic study of Culvert Street.
  • Unanimously agreed to add councilwoman Beth Yocum to a list of bank signers.
  • Unanimously agreed to the full release of the Ben Martin letter of credit.
  • Unanimously approved the minutes (PDF) of its Jan. 8 meeting.

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.

In case you missed it… Background on this story

In July 2022, Byler Holdings requested a zoning amendment from the borough allowing them to build an 800,000-square-foot warehouse in their GI tract.

The alternative, they said, was for them to use their LI tract to construct warehouses with a combined square footage of around 700,000.

Read More: Cornwall Borough Council hears concept plans from Byler Holdings, one including a nearly 800,000-square-foot warehouse [2022]

This plan drew significant concern from many Cornwall residents, with opposition to warehousing on the site largely due to the traffic and noise.

A community group Citizens United 4 Responsible Development, headed by Jeremy Zimmerman, soon emerged in opposition to warehousing on the site.

Council formed an ad hoc committee made up of members of the community, council, and P&Z to work with Byler Holdings on developing conditions for zoning changes (similar as was done for H&K, the previous owner of the property) or otherwise working with the developer to find a mutually agreeable solution.

Read More: Cornwall Borough Council forms ad hoc committee to work with Byler Holdings

Ad hoc discussions did not go far, as they did not have a clear direction and Byler had not submitted plans for the property. Meetings were paused until further directives were given.

Byler Holdings sent the borough a letter withdrawing its request for an amendment due to community outcry, Swank said. The developer reversed this request later, after members of the community appeared equally opposed to the plan for smaller warehouses in the LI tract.

In September 2023, Byler Holdings came before council to ask if council was willing to consider the amendment submitted the year before. In an informal roll call, the majority of council members indicated willingness to consider it.

Read More: Cornwall Borough Council to consider Byler text amendment

Council and Byler Holdings agreed to resume meetings of the ad hoc committee to work out conditions. However, Byler Holdings later requested that council hold off on scheduling meetings until an internal decision was made.

At around the same time, Citizens United came forward with a zoning text amendment of their own which would remove “public warehousing” as an LI permitted use and add it as a general commercial permitted conditional use.

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

This amendment was referred to the ad hoc committee, and has since been referred to P&Z for evaluation and recommendations.

In November, Byler’s attorney Mike Swank returned to council to submit a new zoning amendment, one that would morph into the ordinance adopted Tuesday.

Read More: Cornwall to consider Byler zoning amendment, expects January decision

The proposed amendment would allow manufacturing uses in Cornwall GI zones, with Byler’s property containing the only GI plot in the borough.

Swank expressed at that time that if this amendment was passed, Byler Holdings would retract its previous zoning amendment request.

However, council had to move quickly, as Byler hoped to rent to Cornwall-based submarine part-manufacturer PRL Industries, who was on a tight timeline.

PRL Industries plans to enter a 20-year minimum lease for around 10 acres of the 104-acre tract, which Swank said also has about 60 undevelopable acres. Traffic would mostly be limited to one flatbed truck entering and exiting a few times a day, PRL director of sales and marketing Tim Lewis said.

As the U.S. is in the process of greatly expanding its submarine production, PRL is under a tight timeline as one of the top parts producers in the country to up its production.

Council agreed to expedite the process, sending the amendment to P&Z and Lebanon County Planning with the goal to hold a hearing and choose to adopt or not adopt the amendment in January 2024. P&Z discussed details of the amendment and made some changes before referring it back to council.

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

Byler Holdings has also submitted a plan for residential development in residential low-density and conservation recreation that has yet to be reviewed by the planning commission. The plan includes 131 single-family detached homes, constructed over three phases.

Council unanimously agreed to schedule a public hearing for the amendment at its reorganization meeting Jan. 2, where it would then be adopted with changes.

Read More: Cornwall Borough Council schedules public hearing for Byler amendment

As this amendment was expedited, further amendments for the tract will be taken under consideration by P&Z and/or council as the year progresses.

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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