Family’s attorney objects to proposed rezoning of parcel in Manor Twp.

When: Manor Township reorganization and regular business meeting, Jan. 3. In attendance were supervisors Brandon Clark, Allan Herr and Missy Phelan, staff officials and the acting police chief. Supervisors John Wenzel and George Mann were absent.

What happened: An attorney for the Eshelman family objected to the proposed rezoning of the family’s 90-acre parcel at 289 Donnerville Road from high-density flex to low-density residential. Erik Hume, who represents the family, said the patriarch of the family has died. Hume described the late Guy Eshelman as a lifelong township resident who understood that development of the property was inevitable. Eshelman’s daughter, Yvonne Eshelman Krauss attended the meeting with Hume. They claim they were not notified of the proposed rezoning, which violates the township’s ordinances.

Background: On Nov. 10, supervisors voted to start the process to rezone the property from high-density flex to low-density residential, noting the rezoning had been requested for “quite a while.” Supervisors Clark, Phelan and Mann agreed on Nov. 10 that low density was the best fit for the parcel, while John Wenzel said he would be interested in finding a “middle ground.”

Why it’s important: Hume said the township needs to give the family 45 days to review and respond to the rezoning petition. He said the surviving family members were “hurt and insulted” to learn of the possible rezoning, as prior boards of supervisors agreed the land should be high density. Hume implored the township to press pause, calling the rezoning “bad government.” He said, “What has changed in the last 17 years?”

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Neighbor’s comment: Donnerville Road resident Andrew Gingrich agreed that low-density zoning is “really bad planning,” given the shortage of affordable housing nationwide. Gingrich said he and his wife are a young couple with a toddler who are renters, hoping to purchase a home.

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Quotable: “There is no affordable housing (in the township) for people like me,” Gingrich said. “If you don’t have generational wealth, which I don’t, it’s going to be very hard.”

What’s next: Township Manager Ryan Strohecker said officials are aware of the technical issues with the proposed ordinance, and that a public hearing on the rezoning will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 6, prior to the supervisors meeting. He said there are good points on both sides.

Reorganization: Clark was reelected chairman and Herr was elected vice chairman for 2023. Most board appointments continued from last year with a few exceptions. The board appointed the firm of Morgan, Hallgren, Crosswell & Kane P.C. as solicitor, replacing Goodman & Kenneff. The board then appointed Goodman & Kenneff and Stevens & Lee as assistant solicitor/counsel, replacing MHCK and Woolford-Kanfer Law.

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