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Cornwall Borough Council unanimously agreed on Monday to approve and reject various waivers requested by Cornwall Properties for its planned 131-home subdivision.

Council approved waivers for plan scaling, the maximum amount of lots on a cul-de-sac, sidewalks on both sides of the development (allowing sidewalk on one side), slant curbs, minimum pipe sizes, gutter spreads, basin fencing, and depth of flow at intersections.

It denied a request to allow a reduced radii for the cul-de-sac and tabled a waiver request concerning street improvements at two frontages on Rexmont Road and Iron Valley Drive.

The actions followed recommendations made by the Cornwall Borough Planning and Zoning Commission at its meeting April 4.

Read More: Cornwall Planning & Zoning considers Cornwall Properties subdivision waivers

Rexmont Road Subdivision Plan

The site of Cornwall Properties’ planned subdivision sits by the intersection of Rexmont Road and Iron Valley Drive. It lies 80 percent in residential low-density and 20 percent in conservation recreation.

The plan consists of 131 single-family detached homes, to be constructed over three phases.

The plan can be viewed in full below.

The borough engineer is working with the developer to make changes to the proposed plan based on his comments. Council unanimously agreed to grant a time extension for this review Monday. In the meantime, the developer has presented the borough with various waiver requests.

While access road Iron Valley Drive is privately owned both by Cornwall Properties (north) and the Iron Valley Homeowner’s Association (south), homeowners in the subdivision have the right to use the southern portion of Iron Valley Drive for access, Cornwall Properties representative Mike Swank said.

However, much to the disappointment of some council members and commission members, the roadway will not be usable by the general public.

The entities recently concluded talks with the conclusion that the HOA will place a gate along its portion of the road, which subdivision homeowners will have key-fobs to access.

While councilman and commission member Bruce Conrad previously suggested Cornwall Holdings purchase the HOA’s portion of the roadway, HOA representatives said Monday this outcome was unlikely as this would require unanimous approval from all 18 members of the HOA.

Many of the waivers were granted largely because other developments in the borough do not meet the standards set out by borough ordinances.

For instance, while borough code sets a 12-lot max units on roads containing cul-de-sacs, at least five developments in the borough surpass this, going up to 20.

Conrad said he feels the code should be revisited to make it more consistent, a sentiment echoed by members of the zoning commission.

Council also reviewed a proposed ordinance that combines the submitted lake resort and citizen’s text amendments, unanimously agreeing to send it to P&Z and Lebanon County Planning for review.

Read More:

Both organizations have 60 days to review the ordinance, which will be revisited at council’s June 10 meeting.

The ordinance modifies the limited industrial (LI) zoning to permit “lake resort communities” and various entailed uses and moves public warehousing from LI to general industrial (GI).

A lake resort community (which only the Cornwall Properties plot by Miners Lake fits the description) allows various residential, commercial, and recreational uses including apartment buildings, hotels, timber harvesting, and retail businesses.

The full ordinance can be reviewed below.

Also concerning Cornwall Properties, Swank said PRL Industries expects to submit plans to the borough within the next week.

Read More: Cornwall council unanimously adopts adopts Byler manufacturing amendment

In other news, council unanimously agreed to:

  • Adopt the county’s 2023 hazard mitigation plan (as is required to receive federal aid in case of a natural disaster), although council does not agree with the document’s wording that some natural disasters may be caused by climate change.
  • Declare April 14 “Earl Dohner Day” in celebration of the Cornwall resident and WWII veteran’s 100th birthday.
  • Award the 2024 paving contract to Pennsy Supply Inc. for $87,775.
  • Purchase a 2024 police interceptor for $44,380.
  • Authorize the purchase of security cameras for $20,258.
  • Authorize borough manager Cody Rhoads as its representative to the PSAB Conference, with councilman Tom Burton as alternate.

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 general industrial (GI) tract.

The alternative, they said, was for them to use their limited industrial (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 Cornwall 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 Planning and Zoning Commission 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 asked 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, Cornwall 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. 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

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

Byler Holdings has also submitted a plan for residential development in residential low-density and conservation recreation. The plan includes 131 single-family detached homes, constructed over three phases.

The borough has provided comments to Byler Holdings surrounding the developement, which it is still working through.

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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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