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Rumors fly in Antis Township about future development

Rumors have been flying through the BelAire Estates development in Antis Township and concerned citizens shared their worries with Township supervisors last night at the monthly meeting.
Sarah Miller, spokeswoman for BelAire Estates residents, read a statement prepared about the group’s concerns.
Several of the homes in the development have been visited by a man claiming to represent an anonymous developer.
Miller said a man approached her at home and wanted to know what kind of commercial development she would like to see in the area near her home.
BelAire Estates residents have been working with Wal-Mart officials to keep some type of buffer area around their homes, once the super center goes in.
Wal-Mart’s original plan allowed for a 50 foot buffer zone around the development that would remain untouched. Residents were in agreement with the buffer but wanted to increase the distance to 250 feet. There were even talks earlier in the year of residents having the opportunity to purchase some of the land behind their homes to increase the distance between the development and the new Wal-Mart.
Miller said she and her husband did put a bid in with Wal-Mart for land, but have yet to hear back from them.
“We’re not against Wal-Mart or any other development of Antis Township, we have worked with them to help protect our quality of life,” said Miller.
According to Miller, the rumors included stores such as Cabela’s or Gander Mountain building in the area. This raised several other concerns such as having guns available so close to a residential neighborhood. Also, talk of someone buying several houses in the neighborhood in order to tear them down and make room for an access road to the new store was discussed.
“I just don’t want to wake up one morning and see bulldozers outside my house,” said Miller. She said residents just wanted to be involved in the development process.
“We don’t want to stop growth in Antis Township, we just don’t want it right next to our homes,” said Miller.
According to township solicitor, Patrick Fanelli, “In any of these scenarios you’ve talked about tonight, nothing can happen without something (plans, requests) coming through the board of supervisors. So, you’re not going to wake up and see something happening without prior knowledge.”
Some of the supervisors had heard similar rumors, while others were hearing them for the first time.
Board Chairman, Ray Amato, said he heard months ago that Cabela’s was looking to build in the township but that plan was abandoned because it just wasn’t feasible, due to the size of the stores.
Miller told the board it was critical to have their support on this issue.
She asked the board to speak with Wal-Mart officials and asked them to either accept the residents offer to buy the land or to extend the buffer from 50 feet to 250 feet.
Amato agreed to call Wal-Mart officials with the residents’ concerns.
“We’re in no position to force Wal-Mart to sell land,” said supervisor Ken Hostler, “but we can certainly talk with them about it.”
Another issue brought up was the request to post “no outlet” signs in the development so people know they will not be able to access the new super center through the neighborhood.
Another concerned BelAire resident asked the board about zoning.
“We’ve tried three different times,” said Amato, “but residents didn’t want zoning.”
Supervisor Robert Smith offered his opinion saying, “This guy (that visited homes) sounds kind of shadowy, perhaps he’s trying to cause neighborhood flight.”
Smith said it could be a plan to cause worry among the residents. Then homes could be bought and resold.
Hostler said the point is, “We can’t do anything about a rumor.”
As of right now, all of the rumors circulating are just that, rumors. According to the supervisors, nothing has been submitted to the township regarding the land in question.