Residents speak out against proposed warehouse near Hamburg

Opponents pack Strand Theater

Video report by WFMZ's Tom Rader

HAMBURG, Pa. - There wasn't an empty seat in the house at the Hamburg Strand Theater on Tuesday night.

The crowd wasn't there to see the next star-studded picture, but rather to speak out against a proposed warehouse near Laurel Avenue and Mountain Road in Tilden Township.

"I'm concerned because it's in my backyard. I'm concerned about the decrease in property value," said Carlie Cole, a member of Residents Against Warehouse (RAW), the group that organized the gathering.

According to RAW, the planned one-million square-foot logistics park would impact Hamburg, as well as Upper Bern, Windsor and Tilden townships.

"There's going to be extra traffic. There's going to be pollution. There are health concerns, so is the economic profit from this really worth the decrease in quality of life?" said Tracey Readinger, a RAW member.

One man in attendance, among the throngs of naysayers, was Russell Werley, whose brother owns the farm that is in talks to be sold so the warehouse can be built.

"I feel the farmer has a right to do with his land what he wants. You don't like it? Buy the property out from under the developer," Werley said.

For one member of the residents's group, he said he's not against building warehouses and creating jobs, but just not in this location.

"We're not against warehouses being built, but this is just not the appropriate place to put a warehouse," said Barry Shollenberger with RAW.

But Russell Werley said that land and its future run deeper than concerns over impact to the area. 

"That farm is his retirement," he said, "and it is. If he don't sell the farm, he can't retire."

Residents will have the opportunity to speak with Tilden Township supervisors at a workshop meeting on Friday morning.

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