PALMER TOWNSHIP, Pa. - Neighbors and other township residents showed up in force Tuesday night to contest plans by trucking giant Werner Enterprises to build a training and maintenance building off Tatamy Road in Palmer Township.
But a decision was delayed, probably until April, by the Planning Commission, until a traffic impact study is completed in the coming weeks.
Traffic, noise and air pollution were among the concerns residents raised after Werner Enterprises presented the commission with its latest plans, which were scaled back after residents criticized the company's original plans last summer.
Werner's new proposal drops the truck driving school and lowers the height of the building by eliminating the third floor. About 70 trucks a day -- 35 in and 35 out -- will pass through the facility and truckers will also have only one way out of the facility: Newlins Mills Road, not Tatamy, trucking executives said.
Werner officials said GPS will alert monitors in the home office if a trucker strays off the designated route through a neighborhood and the trucker will be fired.
Despite those assurances, traffic was one of the major concerns in the audience.
"We're just being inundated by trucks," said Charlie Young. "It's endless and no one is looking at the infrastructure. No one."
Several people wore anti-Werner T-shirts that read, "No Werner in Palmer. Palmer is getting trucked. Just say no."
Palmer, especially the flat former farm lands flanking Route 33, has seen an explosion in the growth of mega-warehouses in recent years. Werner officials told the commission that warehouse developers are actively shopping the area where they want to build their facility.
Werner's appearance before the commission is just the first step in what could be a lengthy process. When the commission revisits the matter in April, it could recommend or not recommend its approval and send it on to the Palmer board of supervisors, which will hold a public meeting before taking a vote.
Werner said it has taken steps to lessen its impact on the neighborhood with its plans to build an 8-foot berm with trees on top and repeatedly stressed the building will have no loading docks.
"No one is going to have issues with our operation here," vice president Randy Kraft said. Werner has 13 similar facilities across the county and none have received complaints from neighbors."
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