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South Buffalo commission mum on Foreman Road warehouse design plans

| Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, 12:52 a.m.

The South Buffalo Township Planning Commission chose to make no recommendation to the township supervisors regarding a request from Carson Industries to build a new warehouse in a residential area on Foreman Road.

Right now, Carson's plans for the site are too “vague,” said commission chairman Harry Brenneman.

“There are a lot of unspecified conditions that we don't know about yet, such as how the building is going to look, buffers that may be put in, sewage facilities and aspects like traffic (flow) that are not yet here,” Brenneman said. “We're going to pass it on to the supervisors and they will decide what requirements and conditions to apply to them when this design concept comes up, whether it's a year or three years from now.”

The commission's main priority is to impose conditions that protect residents and township property. It recommends to the supervisors whether to approve or deny requests for development or construction in accordance with the township's zoning code.

Supervisors have the final say, but rarely decide contrary to what the planning commission recommends.

Carson owner Harry Carson Jr. and company president Brad Carson declined to comment on the decision.

During a presentation of their plans before the commission, Harry Carson said the company bought about 40-acres on Foreman Road near its intersection with Route 128 with the intention of building a new 100,000-square-foot warehouse there within the next five years.

The property is zoned residential and has been vacant for years after a housing development plan fell through.

“Since we are applying for this variance, we want to make sure everything is OK as far as the property before we commit resources to the designing of the building and start of construction,” he said. “We'll do everything in our power to be good neighbors and understand that we are in residential area.”

The company's wholesale distribution operation would move from a leased warehouse in the Yatesboro section of Cowanshannock Township to the proposed warehouse on Foreman, which would also house the product designers and administration.

Carson's casting operation would stay at its current location at the opposite end of Foreman Road near the intersection with Todd Road. Seven employees work there, Harry Carson said.

About 75 employees would work at the new site, he said. On average two tractor-trailer trucks would travel to the warehouse each day, he said.

Several residents expressed concern about increased traffic from employees and commercial trucks traveling to and from the business.

“I live there and I see what they have now,” Fred Acre said of trucks traveling to Carson. His home is located next to the site where Carson wants to put the warehouse.

“Someone has to stop the truck traffic,” said Acre's wife Rose. “We don't want it and we shouldn't have to put up with it.”

Carson officials said the location of the entrance near Foreman Road and Painter Lane would cut down on trucks that need to travel the length of Foreman.

Residents also questioned why Carson isn't moving to the nearby Northpointe industrial park.

Harry Carson said they looked into the site, but felt it didn't have a location suitable for them.

He expressed surprise at residents' opposition to the development.

“It's frustrating because a lot of areas try to bring business in from elsewhere,” he said. “It's hard for a business that has grown from nothing here (and now find) it's difficult to get opportunities to grow and employ more people.”

If Carson chooses to pursue building the warehouse, the township supervisors would hold another hearing to consider it and take public comment.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or jweigand@tribweb.com.

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