Gas station and convenience store chain Love’s proposed to build a truck stop on nearly 35 acres of company-owned land next to the Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education near Highway 30 in Hellam Township, and leaders of the nonprofit farm fear the development could increase the risk of flooding and other hazards in the area.
The proposed service station would include a convenience store with a fast-food restaurant, a tire repair shop, car and truck refueling canopies with parking, and a stormwater pond. The site is planned to have 96 truck bays and 75 car bays.
The truck stop would be located next to Kreutz Creek, which has flooded several times in the past, most recently damaging the area in 2018. Adding non-permeable surfaces to build a gas station could significantly increase the hazard.
“We just think the location was really difficult for us, and probably also for the community, just because of the noise that would come from it,” Horn Farm executive director Alexis Campbell said. “There is also an environmental disruption that happens with this. We work very hard to build native habitat on the farm, and this noise pollution affects wildlife. And it also affects our ability to do our jobs when we’re teaching programs and things like that and trying to shout over the traffic noise.
An investigation by Love’s team concluded that construction of the structure will not increase flooding in the area or pose risks to property and the environment.
Campbell said talks with Love’s have been civil, but despite all the project accommodations, the Horn Farm team believe the project will be a problem.
Horn Farm sent out a press release listing concerns about the location, citing a 2020 Army Corps of Engineers study identifying Kreutz Creek as a flood hazard, a study showing runoff from gas stations is five to 30 times more contaminated, environmental impact on local wildlife and living conditions and property values as well as a potential increase in crime.
The meeting will take place at the Hellam Township Building at 44 Walnut Springs Road at 6 p.m. Thursday.
“Our vision for Hellam Township is one where we approach land use thoughtfully and base our decisions on the long-term health, well-being and prosperity of our community,” the board of directors said. Horn Farm in a press release. “…Surrounding property values can only benefit from these creative land uses that leave a slight imprint on the landscape and provide a long-term net benefit to the community.”
The Horn Farm is still under reconstruction after lightning struck the roof of the main house last fall, leaving only a brick shell, porch and window frames.
According to Hellam Township Board of Supervisors Chairman Todd Trimmer, a representative from Love asked to address the board at its meeting on Thursday, March 17.
A Love’s rep could not be reached for comment.
Jack Panyard is a reporter for the York Daily Record, part of the USA TODAY Network. Reach him at [email protected], 717-850-5935 or on Twitter @JackPanyard.