The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

April 23, 2013

Monroe supervisors shoot down factory plan

— HUMMELS WHARF — The owners of EMS Surgical Equipment will have to obtain approval from the zoning hearing board to rebuild a sewing factory destroyed by fire in February.

The Monroe Township supervisors denied the company’s request for an amendment to the ordinance allowing light manufacturing in the commercial zone at Buchanan Avenue in Hummels Wharf, where the business operated for 28 years before a fire tore through the factory on Feb. 2.

Immediately after the fire, owner Edna Stuck obtained a permit to keep all 15 employees working on the design and production of surgical garments in a nearby storage facility for six months.

Jim Grose, a land surveyor hired by Stuck, told the supervisors she’s prepared to rebuild in a different location on the property she owns but will need a use variance from the township zoning hearing board or an amendment to the local ordinance.

Board Chairman Timothy Wolfe opposed amending the ordinance, citing two other requests that are pending this year from a proposed Turkey Hill convenience store and gas station on the Strip and a drive-through convenience store on the Old Trail.

“It’s getting to the point where people want (conditional) use for everything,” Wolfe said. “It’s snowballing.”

In favor of supporting the company’s bid to rebuild, Supervisor Steve Paige pointed out that the company employs 15 people.

“We have to do something to help these people out. It’s not their fault the building burned down,” he said, responding to Supervisor Dean Davis’ complaint that the township puts money and time in developing its zoning ordinance.

All three supervisors agreed to recommend EMS seek a variance from the zoning hearing board. If the request is denied, the company may appeal to Snyder County Court.

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