HomeWashington Twp. NewsCouncil votes against zone changes on Hurffville Cross Keys Road

Council votes against zone changes on Hurffville Cross Keys Road

The property had residents concerned for the township’s safe water supply

Mayor Joann Gattinelli (center) and Councilwoman Angela Donato (second from left) recognized the Wahl family, from left) Andy, Faith and Grace, for their participation the 67-mile American Cancer Society bike-a-thon from Philadelphia to Atlantic City.

At the Sept. 13 meeting, council voted against an ordinance changing the zoning of a Hurffville Cross Keys Road property from rural to commercial industrial, which had been topic of concern for many residents in attendance.

Many members of the public at the Aug. 23 council meeting spoke to the township administration about their objections to the zoning change, worried for the health of the township’s safe water supply. Council had tabled the ordinance to last week’s meeting.

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According to Vice Chair of the Environmental Commission Vicki Benetti, the property in question, located at 268 Hurffville Cross Keys Road, not only lies within the wellhead protection area for two local wells, but is within the most sensitive areas surrounding those water sources.

“The public water supply wells are vulnerable to contamination because they draw groundwater from very shallow depths — 65 to 100 feet below ground surface,” Benetti said. “This surface is sandy and porous, which allows easy transportation for contaminants that enter the groundwater.”

According to the ordinance, the Washington Township Zoning Board of Adjustment had determined the designated zoning as a split between rural and commercial industrial as a mistake when designing the master plan. Legacy Assets, LLC had requested the zoning designation interpretation request to have the lot, owned by JTD Realty Group, LLC, fully rezoned as commercial industrial.

A major concern for residents was the possibility of a gas station on the property, as the potential for a petroleum tank leak into the water supply could be endangering to the health and wellness of township residents. However, resident and attorney of the zoning board Steve Altamuro said there had not been any applications received for what the property would be used for, at the time.

“We want to be business friendly, the issue is this is an environmentally sensitive area that contains many of our wellheads and we want to protect that area, especially from the potential of putting gas tanks there,” resident Daniel Coughlin said. “You don’t want to be known as the council that allowed a tragic petroleum accident where it gets in our water supply. You want to be known at the council who protects it.”

With a 3–2 vote, Council President Nick Fazzio and Councilman Joe Perry voting to adopt the ordinance, the motion failed and the ordinance did not pass.

In other news:

  • Washington Township Mayor Joann Gattinelli presented the Wahl family, Faith, Andy and Grace, with a proclamation recognizing their “accomplishment, dedication and example of the great youth…that will become great leaders of tomorrow” in light of their participation in the American Cancer Society 67-mile bike-a-thon from Philadelphia to Atlantic City. Gattinelli said as a result, their team, “Bill’s Bikers,” raised $7,130 for cancer research.
  • Council adopted an ordinance prohibiting parking at all times on the north side of Greentree Road. According to the ordinance, cars are not to be parked from the extended curb line of Heritage Valley Drive to a 550-foot point west.
  • Council passed a resolution amending the Interlocal Services Agreement between the township and the Washington Township Board of Education for school resource officer services. The resolution allows for a full-time SRO at Washington Township High School, as well as special law enforcement officer presence within the district’s schools and buildings.
  • Gattinelli appointed resident Greg Bianchi and Superintendent of Schools Joseph Bollendorf to the township Advisory Board of the Economic Development Board.

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