After almost one and a half hours of discussion in the public hearing and further during the voting phase of their Monday morning meeting, North East Township supervisors unanimously approved the rezoning of two properties on South Washington Street.
Residents tried to impress upon supervisors how many serious issues still exist and supervisors assured them they understood their concerns, but insisted the proper time for dealing with these issues would be later at the public hearing for the conditional use permit which would be required before Roberts could expand according to their plans.
The overwhelming majority of public comment in previous meetings and in the public hearing, was all against the rezoning and expansion until these problems are addressed. Supervisors, nevertheless, voted to proceed, which seems to indicate their decision was based on other factors.
Residents again asked whether an environmental impact study was planned and whether it would be done before the rezoning. Supervisors said no study was planned, but if one were done, it should be stated as a requirement in the conditional use permit since, at that point, it would be the financial responsibility of the company and not taxpayers.
In response to a question about whether supervisors would rezone these properties to commercial even if Roberts Trucking had no expansion plans, supervisor Fred Shunk stated he absolutely would vote to rezone because "that is what the long term plan calls for."
Attorney Richard Filippi, spoke briefly on behalf of some residents indicating the township may face a legal challenge if the rezoning and expansion proceeds before residents concerns are properly addressed.