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Editorial was wrong — UPS bad deal for Lower Swatara Township: Letter to the Editor

Posted 9/13/17

I am writing in response to the Press & Journal editorial “UPS hub solid addition for township” dated Sept. 6.

The editorial cites plans of UPS planning to construct a near 1 …

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Editorial was wrong — UPS bad deal for Lower Swatara Township: Letter to the Editor

Posted

I am writing in response to the Press & Journal editorial “UPS hub solid addition for township” dated Sept. 6. 

The editorial cites plans of UPS planning to construct a near 1 million-square-foot regional hub in the 2100 block of North Union Street in Lower Swatara Township. UPS has filed a petition for a text amendment that supports their plans for construction. An approval of a text amendment for UPS will adversely affect the residents now and for generations to come. 

The following are some of the major areas of concern to support our opposition to this development: 

1. Increased traffic congestion associated at Route 283/North Union Street exit, Eisenhower Interchange, Route 441, Longview Drive, Strites Road and Fulling Mill Road. 

2. Vehicle emission pollution and related negative health impacts. 

3. Increased sound and light pollution. 

4. Potential for environmental pollution. 

5. Increased risk of issues related to flooding and storm water management. 

6. Negative Impact on property values. 

7. A text amendment approval opens the doors for additional warehouses/trucking terminals. 

Nevertheless, before I am accused of just being another “NIMBY” (not in my backyard), there are numerous layers to peel away to get a more comprehensive scope of this project. UPS has stated on record that once ramped up there will be 600 additional trucks 24/7 in our township. They also stated UPS drivers, who are employees of the company, would be instructed to use the Route 283 and the North Union interchange only. Lower Swatara Township residents and frequent commuters of North Union Street and Fulling Mill Road are already familiar with the congested traffic and its problems associated with it. 

Last week’s editorial fails to mention other vehicular traffic Lower Swatara would experience not just on North Union Street, but also on Fulling Mill, Longview and Oberlin roads (Route 441). There is also an estimated 300-plus delivery trucks and 1,200 passenger vehicles, again 24/7 bringing the traffic total to more than 2,000 vehicles. This information is based on the additional 1,000 part-time employees supplied by UPS. 

UPS has earmarked $20 million for infrastructure improvements. In previous planning commission and Lower Swatara Township workshop meetings, officials have requested more detail on plans for the Route 283/North Union Street interchange and surrounding roads. However, UPS has not done so. 

UPS has consistently withheld detailed construction plans for the interchange and North Union Street. Are they concerned Lower Swatara residents will get sticker shock? How large of construction will this be? How long will it take? Many questions are left unanswered. 

Dennis Fausey, Lower Swatara Township Planning Commission member, stated: “This is good for Lower Swatara Township.” How does he know that? Has he done a comprehensive cost analysis or any risk management with this project? Has anyone on the planning commission or the Lower Swatara board done that? Does the UPS estimated tax revenue cover the costs of the expected ongoing maintenance, which will be required on North Union Street? Will this be a positive or a negative cash flow for the township? Again, many unanswered questions. 

The editorial notes “We hope such a project helps keep the tax rate stable.” Wouldn’t you think that a project of this size and disruption should be better than just hope? Isn’t it the duty of the Lower Swatara Township board to do its own homework and determine on its own merit if this project will in fact do that? 

Does increased revenue necessarily prevent future tax increases? Does anyone really believe that our taxes will go down or that governments will hold future increases? Governments who receive additional tax funds typically just spend more, negating any positive cash flows. 

The biggest question I have is this: Why is UPS pushing so hard for a text amendment without providing extremely important details? Are the reasons for UPS coming to Lower Swatara because Dauphin County officials want it? Is it due to the whims of the 106th House District representative to claim he brought 1,200 jobs into his district? The claim seems to be a UPS hub is good for the township when in fact it’s a very bad deal. If a text amendment is approved without complete analysis and vetting by the Lower Township board, we are screwed since UPS will gain all leverage against them. Our township board must do better! 

There has been a grossly inadequate level of due diligence performed by our appointed and elected officials. We presented information to the planning commission to support our concerns. There has been a serious lack of transparency throughout the process and our requests have been ignored. 

The current Lower Swatara Township board consisting of Jon Wilt, Mike Davies, Laddie Springer, Todd Trunz and Ben Hall must do its due diligence throughout this whole process. The residents of Lower Swatara should not only expect that, they deserve it! Remember, the township belongs to the residents and we have every right to full transparency. We vote for them. 

Unlike the editorial supporting UPS, I am not afraid to sign my name. If you agree with me that UPS is not in the best interests for Lower Swatara and that our township board needs to perform its due diligence, go to LSTCAG.com and sign our petition. 

Daniel Magaro

Lower Swatara Township 


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