Warehousing Project: Frequently Asked Questions

Warehouse FAQ Topics

On behalf of the Dover Township Board of Supervisors and the Dover Township staff, we understand that the community has questions regarding the Hines Development Group Warehouse Project proposed at the old Glen Gery Brick Company site with access on Bull Road.  The Township has developed the within list of questions and answers (and resources where available) in an effort to keep the community updated and informed with accurate information.  Social media has been a significant source of the questions and answers contained herein, and while social media is a valuable tool to share information, we strongly urge the community to be aware that incorrect information can also easily be shared on social media. As more questions arise about the Land Development process, the Township is committed to provide the public with accurate information as it becomes available to us.

Disclaimer – The information provided herein is based on the information currently available to the Township.  As additional information is made available to the public, or as any information previously provided changes (as may be the case in a development project), the Township will periodically update this document to keep the information as updated and accurate as possible.  This document has also been developed strictly for informational purposes, and does not represent a complete review or overview of the planning and land development processes and procedures of the Township.

  1. What is the history of Industrial Zoning in Dover Township and when was the proposed warehouse location zoned industrial?

Please click here for a story map created by our Technology Department. This document shows zoning map changes through the years for the Industrial Zone as Zoning regulations were changed since their inception in 1970.  The parcels that were owned by Glen Gery and sold to the Hines Development Group were rezoned to Industrial on September 25th, 2006.  Click here for the minutes and Ordinance from the meeting.  No member of the present Board of Supervisors was on the Board in 2006 when the subject property was rezoned to Industrial.

  1. Is the Hines Development Group receiving tax breaks for this project?

Dover Township does not have a LERTA program, is not entertaining the adoption of a LERTA program, and has communicated the same to the Hines Development Group.  LERTA is a state approved tax abatement program which permits certain redevelopment projects (which meet set requirements) to pay a sliding scale of assessed property taxes over a ten year period (with less taxes paid in year 1 and then gradual increases each year until year 10, after which the full amount of taxes would be paid on an annual basis.   It is important to note that municipal taxes (here the Dover Township taxes) are only 1 of the 3 real estate taxes (the others being York County taxes and school taxes (Dover School District)).  Each has its own taxing authority, and each has the right to adopt a LERTA program, over which the Township has no control nor input.

  1. Will the warehouse impact Dottie’s?

The Hines development project will not have any impact on the existence of Dottie’s Family Market.  Nothing regarding the current development would cause Dottie’s to have to move or relocate.  Unrelated to the warehouse project, the York Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (YAMPO) has a YCPC Congestion Management Report completed in 2016 (click here to view it).  That report clearly identified the Bull Road and Canal Road All Way Stop as the 7th most congested intersection in York County as well as 1st most congested non-signalized intersection in York County.  PennDOT and YAMPO have been actively studying and planning for this improvement for several years, however there is no final determination of what plans will be used to help alleviate the congestion.  We have requested a timeline for this project from YAMPO and will share that information when it is received, but for the time being there is no plan and known impact to Dottie’s Family Market.

  1. Why does Dover Township keep destroying our farmland?

In the case of the parcels where the Hines Warehouses are proposed, the three parcels were purchased by Glen Gery Brick in 1956, 1968, and 1974 for the purpose of clay mining.  Therefore, the historic use of these properties has been mining.  However, Dover Township has an established primary growth boundary (click here to view the land use map).  Inside that growth boundary are the areas that utilities and road infrastructure present better opportunities for growth.  We are required to plan for all uses in our community by the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC).  Click here for the link to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Planning Resources Series, which provides the MPC document as well as a series of documents about land use planning in Pennsylvania.  Having this growth boundary allows for growth while protecting other areas of the Township from development.  Presently our percentage of Zoned Agricultural Land in Dover Township is 57.03%, while 3% of our land is zoned Industrial.  In addition, we have 2,368 acres of Agricultural land in Ag-Preservation (8.7% of Township) and 7,101 acres in Agriculture Security (26% of Township).  Roughly 25% of the Township is within the primary growth boundary.  Therefore, all growth is directed to those areas.

  1. Will Dover Township be adding any additional industrial land?

As depicted in the story map provided in the answer to question 1, the 2020 Comprehensive Plan made no recommendation for additional land to be zoned Industrial.

  1. Why do we even need industrial zoning?

In summary, every type of use must be planned and provided for in each municipality.  Failure to do this leaves the municipality (here the Township) at a severe disadvantage by greatly limiting its ability to regulate the use otherwise not provided for (since uses not provided for are permitted without as much regulation).  Click here to read a publication from Centre County which details the potential challenges that can occur if communities do not plan for all uses.

As mentioned in the answer to question 4, the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC) requires communities to complete a Comprehensive Plan every 10 years.  This Plan establishes where growth should occur through changes to the Zoning Map.  Following the Comprehensive Plan’s completion, Zoning Ordinance revisions that can include map revisions are developed and adopted.

In the early 2000’s, Glen Gery challenged the validity of Dover Township’s Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances.  As a result of that litigation, in 2006 the then Board of Supervisors entered into a settlement agreement with Glen Gery Brick Company.  As a term of that agreement the land in question was rezoned Industrial.  Minutes and Ordinance from the September 25th, 2006, meeting available here.

  1. Will we see more trucks on Butter Road, George St, and Nursery?

The developer is required by the Township to install an access which would prohibit trucks from turning north onto Bull Road. Traffic studies indicate 50% of the warehouse’s traffic will travel East to 83 and the remaining 50% will travel South to Rt. 30. The developer is required by PennDOT to make improvements to Canal & Bull (Signal), Hilton & Bull (Turn Lane & Light), Canal & Susquehanna Trail (Widening). See Transportation Impact Summary & HOP plans. The developer is responsible for necessary property acquisitions and constructing the improvements in accordance with PennDOT permits & construction specifications. The required improvements on state routes are determined by PennDOT with input from the local municipalities.

  1. What can be done to prevent more warehouses in our community?

As stated in question #4 we are required to plan for all uses. Warehousing is still a permitted use in the Industrial Zone, but there aren’t many parcels large enough to be viable for another project like this. As also mentioned in question #5, there is currently no recommendation in our comprehensive plan to rezone additional land to Industrial. Pursuant to our existing comprehensive plan, industrial land within our growth area would need to be fully utilized or developed before expanding the zone. We focus development within our designated growth boundary so that the rural character of lands outside the growth boundary (ag & conservation lands) are maintained.

  1. Can’t the Board just deny the plan?

If a property owner or developer shows they can meet our development requirements as well as the requirements associated with approvals from outside agencies such as PennDOT or DEP, there is no legal way to deny a plan. The same would be true for a resident building a single-family home: if you meet the zoning requirements required by the local municipality, the state building code (Uniform Construction Code), and outside agency approval (ex. Driveway access, well/septic approval), there would be no legal way the Township can deny an individual from building a home once all requirements are met, including compliance with zoning requirements.

  1. What is the best way for the public to stay up to date with this project?

Routinely check and review the Township website, where the Township will post and publish all new or current information as timely as possible.  The agendas and meeting minutes can be found here – https://www.dovertownship.org/minutes/. Dover Township recently partnered with Savvy Citizen to keep residents updated with road closures, community recreation events, meeting times & locations, public service announcements, etc. We encourage residents to subscribe to this free service (click here for app link). Residents are welcome to reach out to our Planning Department if they have specific questions or concerns regarding a plan.

  1. How is this approval process different from the solar farm project?

Due to the type of use, and more importantly the zoning district of the underlying land, the solar project required additional zoning approval through the Special Exception process.  For a special exception, the developer must go to the Zoning Hearing Board in order to prove it meets the special exception requirements, and the application/meeting must be advertised pursuant to the MPC (posting property, neighbor letters, and public advertisement). Despite this process, many uses throughout the Township are “uses permitted by right” in the applicable zoning district (such as a single family house in the Low Density Single Family Residential District).  Uses permitted by right do not require any additional zoning approval from the Zoning Hearing Board, but still must meet all Township zoning and SALDO regulations.  In Dover Township, a warehouse use in the Industrial Zone is a permitted use (use permitted by right) and does not require a Special Exception (or any other approval from the Zoning Hearing Board). (click here for ZHB Planning Series)

  1. Why is the developer requesting waivers from Stormwater Management?

Pursuant to our land development regulations, “waivers” or modifications may be granted where the literal enforcement of the regulations will exact undue hardship because of conditions pertaining to the land in question. The specific stormwater waivers associated with this plan are in regard to the basin size, depth, and slope of the basin’s edges for maintenance purposes. They do not affect the overall storage capacity or the quality of the stormwater runoff. The geological conditions of this particular property do not allow water to infiltrate, so a modified plan is necessary to meet the water quality intent of the stormwater regulations. Environmental impacts will be reviewed & approved (or denied) by state & federal agencies (DEP, EPA, Army Corps of Engineers).