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The Cornwall Borough Planning and Zoning Commission noted that it has received the preliminary/final land development plan for PRL Industries at its Monday meeting.

The submitted plan, located within a 104-acre lot in Byler Holding’s General Industrial tract, includes a 75,000-square-foot building with a maximum height of 45 feet, an adjoined 6,120 square feet of office space, and 61 parking spaces.

The plan includes an extended access drive to Boyd Street. Byler Holdings representative Mike Swank said that the property will have limited outdoor lighting, with eight-foot lighting in the parking lot, loading area, and for part of the access drive.

Mike Swank gestures to the relative location of the PRL plot on a zoning map at Monday’s meeting. (Emily Bixler)

He said the first 500 feet of the access drive will not have additional lighting, to limit light disturbances to neighbors.

The building will be designed to blend in with the adjacent wooded area, with grayish-brown walls, Swank said.

The developers are reviewing the first set of borough engineer Chad Smith’s comments. The plan will be discussed by the commission in more depth at a later date.

In January, Cornwall Borough Council fast-tracked an amendment to the borough’s zoning ordinance to move manufacturing from the limited industrial (LI) district to the general industrial (GI) district. This was because PRL Industries, which manufactures submarine parts, was on a tight timeline to build a new manufacturing plant due to the nation’s increased demand for these parts.

The commission also updated the public on the Rexmont Road subdivision Monday, noting that borough engineer Josh Weaber has issued his second set of comments.

They unanimously agreed to recommend the council grant a waiver for sidewalk requirements around the subdivision, though street widening and curbing will still be required within 50 feet of both entrances.

This waiver was tabled at the commission’s last meeting, at which it recommended approval or denial of other waivers.

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

The commission took no action regarding the Lake Resort Community Text Amendment Monday, opting to wait until Weaber is able to voice his opinions in-person.

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 development, 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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