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More than 150 acres of farmland could vanish in Cumberland County

Some residents in North Middletown Township, Cumberland County are fighting the petition to preserve the land.

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. — Ashton and Kimberley Nichols live in a historic house surrounded by sprawling Cumberland County farmland.

"[It's] some of the most beautiful land in Cumberland County," Ashton Nichols said. "Wide open spaces, very little development."

However, they could soon have some noisy neighbors in their peaceful part of North Middleton Township.

A petition by Vision Group Ventures, which is the equitable owner of the land next to the Nichols property, has called for rezoning from rural/agriculture to commercial industrial.

The proposal argues that the land is contiguous to the existing industrial district that lies on the other side of Interstate 76.

"The thought that they could get across the turnpike and essentially plant an industrial flag, much less with another warehouse, doesn't really seem like it's necessary," Nichols said.

According to the request from the group representing Vision, only 166 acres would be rezoned from agriculture to commercial land. The group says the disputed land isn’t close to residents and will have the least amount of impact on surrounding residences.

Rick Hoover is one of the North Middleton Township residents fighting to see that all of the land stays preserved.

“That’s what we’re known for," Hoover said. "Why take the prime farmland and turn it into warehousing and industrial development, that we really don't need in this territory?"

One of the main concerns for residents is the proximity of the land to the Conodoguinet Creek.

Credit: Mcnees Wallace & Nurick LLC

“That supplies the drinking water for North Middleton Township and Carlisle Borough, plus municipalities further east of us," Hoover said.

Other logistical concerns include light pollution and traffic, something prior and current development is already impacting.

Just ask township resident Sherry Mancuso.

"It’s going to cause more up-and-down traffic with 18-wheelers up here than we need in this residential area," Mancuso said.

She says the township should not accommodate the request.

"Let our farmlands alone. Let them alone," Mancuso said.

Nichols says others in the community feel the same way.

"Certainly anybody who lives in this community knows we really don't need another warehouse," Nichols said.

The North Middleton Township Planning Commission meets Tuesday night, and the Township’s Board of Supervisors meets Thursday night at 6 p.m.

An agenda for Thursday night’s meeting had not been released as of Monday evening.

FOX43 reached out to McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC, which represents Vision Group Venture in the matter, after their business hours and is waiting for a response.

This rezoning dispute comes just days after a similar situation in Hellam Township, York County voted 3-2 not to rezone 23 acres of farmland for industrial use.

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