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Hellam Township votes down proposed rezoning of agricultural land

The 23-acre parcel on Campbell Road would be designated as commercial/industrial, opening up the potential for large warehouses.

YORK COUNTY, Pa. — White Clover Family Farm has become a staple in the Hellam Township, York County community since opening in 2020.

"It is rated as some of the best farmland in the country. But certainly in our community," White Clover Family Farm owner Nate Reidy said.

A petition to rezone land just down the road had the potential to place his farm in the shadow of yet another warehouse. Reidy says that would set the tone for future development, something some in the community don't want to see.

"It might not have the same dollar sign value to the property owner as a commercial land would, but to the community, to our country, to our region, to our county, it's priceless."

The 23-acre property off of Campbell Road is directly across the street from some residential housing. 

Sindy Elliott has lived on Mimosa Drive for several years. She was unable to attend the board meeting Thursday night, but spoke with FOX43 beforehand.

"This mobile park, both of our exits and entrances are right there on [Campbell] Road," Elliott said. "Just the traffic will be so bad."

A report last month from the York County Planning Commission recommended that Hellam Township not adopt the proposed rezoning.

Aside from agricultural use, the report cited preservation of farmland, existing commercial and industrial zones in the township, as well as concerns with Campbell Road.

Some residents voiced those concerns at the meeting.

"How do you get the information you need to? Well, it's called long-term planning," one resident said.

"Put a warehouse in front of your house. Take your land where you live and put it over there," a resident who lives close by to the property said.

"The bus stops along the road. They stand there. It's unsafe now as it is with the traffic," one resident said regarding the bus stop at the corner of Campbell Road and Mimosa Drive.

Others were in support of bringing the potential growth and tax dollars to the township.

"I consider that a loss of you don't go in favor of that," one resident said.

"If you're bringing growth in there, you're gonna have that taxes," another resident in favor of the proposal said.

The board, on a razor-thin margin, voted 3-2 to keep the land zoned as is.

Reidy says tonight's vote sets a precedent for how the township, county and commonwealth will look moving forward. 

"You might think that's just 23 acres, build another warehouse," Reidy said. "But if every township in Pennsylvania is talking about one of their little farms and turning it into a warehouse, that's a lot of farmland."

An appeal to the decision can be made by the petitioner and landowner.

Regardless of the vote, Reidy noted that everybody in the community wants what's best for the township.

"It's not like they're up in arms, right? It's not a protest," Reidy said. "We think that everyone involved in this are good people. The current landowner, he's a local person, he's a good person."

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