As part of an effort to cover more public meetings, ABC27 attended the Hampden Township Board of Commissioners meeting on Thursday night.
The board approved a zoning amendment that will ease restrictions in Cumberland Technology Park. Hotels will no longer be required to have designated meeting rooms, and drive-thru restaurants will be permitted.
Developers say this will make it easier to attract groups and businesses to the office park, which is just off Wertzville Road. They can now go after hotels that do not have meeting rooms, and create an environment in which employees do not need to leave Cumberland Technology Park in order to get lunch.
Commissioners noted there are between 1,500 and 2,000 employees who work in Cumberland Technology Park.
Commissioner John Gaspich was the only vote against the amendment. He said drive-thru restaurants will likely invite drivers off I-81, and he’s concerned about the effects of traffic on the medical facilities in that area.
There will be several Hampden Township public hearings on Thursday, July 27. One is about a zoning ordinance amendment to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in specified commercial districts.
Board President Al Bienstock emphasized that the amendment will not translate into the township having a dispensary on every corner. Rather, the goal is to regulate where the facilities are allowed and how they will affect the community.
Commissioners say so far, there have been three applications for dispensaries in Hampden Township.
There will also be a hearing about a zoning amendment related to recent concerns about dog kennels in residential neighborhoods.
The zoning hearing previously scheduled for June 21st has been cancelled.
The commissioners discussed the possibility of placing street lights on Orrs Bridge Road. The issue is coming up now because Cumberland County is replacing the structurally-deficient bridge over the Conodoguinet Creek. The lights the commissioners discussed are optional because they are not required for safety reasons. However, there are concerns about the safety of pedestrians who cross the bridge. The commissioners said they would need more information about the cost of installing lights before making a decision.
There’s an ongoing effort to keep traffic from backing up on the Carlisle Pike, especially near Sporting Hill Road. Hampden Township commissioners say they are trying to work with PennDOT for solutions. At Thursday night’s meeting, they talked about adding turn lanes, residential parking on streets just off the Pike, and traffic light times. Commissioners noted that there are long wait times near Lambs Gap and Salem Church roads during youth baseball season.
The board recognized Eagle Scout and Cumberland Valley High School graduate Billy Fish for earning the prestigious William T. Hornaday Silver Medal.