JENKINS TWP. -- Jenkins Township supervisors on Monday unanimously approved a zoning request to allow expansion of Mericle Commercial Real Estate's Center Point Commerce and Trade Park.
Mericle's corporation -- 200 Research Drive LLC -- is purchasing the property from Lokuta Properties. The 76.8-acre tract is a long strip of land approximately 1,000 feet wide. Lou Sebia, chief operating officer at Mericle, and Brian McManus, Mericle senior vice president, attended the public hearing Monday to answer questions.
A few neighbors of the property objected to the zoning change, saying developing the land could harm two nearby natural trout streams and other wildlife. They also were concerned about blasting that could be required to develop the land.
Sebia and McManus said all environmental concerns would be addressed during the land-development process, which is not yet on the drawing board. Sebia said Mericle wanted the zoning approval before proceeding with the purchase of the land.
Bryan Bryk, who lives off of Chapel Road in Suscon, asked what Mericle has planned for the parcel. Sebia said no development plan is in place at this time.
When blasting has been done in the past, my house shook and my kids cried, they were so scared, Bryk said. I'm concerned about what's going to go on there.
Bryk said his insurance won't pay for damage caused by blasting, but Sebia assured him Mericle's insurance would pay if any damage occurs.
Township Supervisors Coreen Milazzo and Stanley Rovinski attended the meeting and Chairman Joseph Zelonis was present via a telephone conference call. All three said they were not aware of any complaints in the past about the blasting, nor did the township receive any concerns from the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Sebia said that since January 2008, Mericle has constructed 5 million square feet of commercial space at CenterPoint, resulting in 4,000 to 5,000 jobs for the region.
Bryk and Timothy Celuck, another adjacent property owner, said they would prefer the land remain conservation to protect the streams and wildlife.
My concern is that there's probably a much bigger plan for this land than what we see here today, Celuck said.
Sebia said Mericle will purchase the land once it is properly zoned.
Milazzo and Rovinski asked for assurances that the streams and environment will be protected. Sebia said Mericle has always been a good neighbor and all concerns will be addressed in the land development process.
Yes, we will create buffers, Sebia said. But it's premature at this stage to discuss those concerns now. We will work with the neighbors, as we have in the past.