Maidencreek warehouse attorney: Public hearings need boundaries

MAIDENCREEK TWP., Pa. – The Maidencreek Township Board of Supervisors on Wednesday night conducted the third session of an ongoing public hearing for an application for a warehouse at Route 222 and Evansville Road.

The hearing will most likely continue for several months, as there are 20 members of the public who have registered as parties to the proceedings, meaning each of those individuals will have an opportunity to present their own cases with witnesses after the applicant completes his testimony.

Maidencreek Associates LP, Plymouth Meeting, is seeking a conditional use to allow the construction of a 930,000-square-foot building for wholesale business, storage and warehousing.

Within the C-2 regional commercial zoning district, the use is permitted by conditional-use approval from the township supervisors. The applicant needs to demonstrate that qualifications are being met to receive conditional use.

The facility is being proposed on an 80.76-acre tract on Route 222 near the Schaeffer Road roundabout.

Wednesday’s hearing consisted only of the members of the public who have registered as parties. They asked questions of Christopher Williams, a traffic study engineer, who gave his testimony at the last hearing.

The first resident questioned Williams for 90 minutes.

Gregg Adelman, attorney for the applicant, objected to the questioning numerous times to stop the resident from presenting testimony.

The parties may not actually present testimony or evidence until the applicant has completed the hearing of all its witnesses and rested its case.

At one point, Adelman called the questioning out of order.

“This is something that we can just keep digging into every line item, and we can be here forever,” Adelman said. “At some point, we have to put a limit on this; I don’t know when this ends.”

Adelman said he may ask a judge to intervene. 

“I’d like to go on record that I would request the board for some type of limit on the parties in terms of the questions that they can ask on cross-examination,” Adelman said.

“Otherwise, I’m going to find myself having to go to court in order to establish some type of defined procedure for this hearing, because at the end, we’ll never get there,” Adelman continued, “and that’s a denial of my client’s due process.”

Township Solicitor Eric Frey refused to set boundaries.

“We’re not going to do that,” Frey said. “As you know, these are laypeople, and are not attorneys.”

Earlier this month, the township was notified of litigation that Maidencreek Associates filed against the township.

Developer Maidencreek Associates says it would be ‘virtually impossible’ to meet the criteria laid out in the township’s noise ordinance.

The suit alleges that the township’s noise ordinance is not in compliance with state law, making it impossible for the proposed warehouse to comply with the township noise regulations.

The parties which questioned Williams Wednesday night repeatedly challenged his testimony that the proposed warehouse will not cause undue congestion or hazardous conditions on roads within the township.

The warehouse is expected to generate 1,686 trips per day, or 843 vehicles over a 24-hour period.

Residents also challenged Williams on the way he conducted a traffic study.

“Our estimates of the traffic generated by the warehouse is based on actual studies of other similar warehouses,” Williams said.

“There is a process that we must follow,” he continued. “After this process, we have to submit fully engineered design plans in order to secure a highway occupancy permit. It’s really at that stage when PennDOT will review the technical detail of the design.”

The fourth hearing is scheduled for Feb. 27 at 6:30 p.m., at which time two remaining residents will have their turn at questioning Williams before the applicant can call its next witness.

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