Other approved variances included:
• Eliminating a 50-foot buffer yard around the entire perimeter of the site and instead providing a minimum10-foot wide landscaped area that includes berms and fencing.
• Allowing a 50-foot front yard setback rather than the 150-foot setback required for a shopping center.
• Permitting multiple primary uses, rather than just one.
• Screening fences up to 10 feet high, rather than the required maximum of eight feet.
• Allowing more impervious cover – up to nearly 80 percent -- rather than the required 60 percent limit.
• Allowing at least a 22.5 percent maximum building coverage rather than the required 20 percent maximum for a shopping center.
• Allowing fewer parking spaces and fewer but wider landscaped separators in parking lots, plus fewer landscaped parking spaces than required.
• Requiring fewer loading areas than required for buildings between 4,000 and 10,000 square feet.
Similar variances were granted for a convenience store/gas station planned as part of the project on the northwest corner of Hamilton Boulevard and Krocks Road. The developers did not confirm it, but resident Ron Beitler told zoners he’s heard a rumor that will be a Sheetz store, which he said “aren’t the most beautiful convenience stores in the world.”
A half dozen residents spoke, most with questions or concerns about how Hamilton Crossings will impact specific properties.
Resident John Bush was concerned about sound barriers being removed along Route 222 west of Krocks Road to create the proposed access road. He said studies already were done to determine those walls are needed, adding: “I can hear truck traffic even with the sound barrier.”
Resident Charles Pattrell anticipates Hamilton Crossings will create more traffic on Krocks Road, which has no shoulders but kids walk along to get to school buses. He’s concerned about the safety of people living in the township.
Larry Schneider, chairman of the zoning hearing board, stepped down from the dais when the hearing began. He recused himself because he has a conflict, later explaining he has a business relationship with one of the applicants.
The hearing was conducted by vice chairman William Royer, along with Brian Higgins and Alternate Thomas Sesta, who replaced Schneider for the evening.
The developers previously offered to create ball fields on 10 acres of property they will own north of Route 222, where an old iron mine quarry will be turned into a storm water basin for Hamilton Crossings. Now they intend to give the township money to be placed into a specific account only for creating new recreation fields or improving existing fields.
The developers will return to the zoning hearing board only if they need additional variances, such as if stores want signs that don’t comply with the township’s zoning law.