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Girl Scouts’ project one-year extension approved

A one-year extension has been accepted for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania “Adventure Place at Mountain House,” to be built along West Rock Road, west of the Interstate 78 Interchange, Summit Lawn, Salisbury Township.

The Salisbury Township Board of Commissioners voted 3-0, with two commissioners absent March 9, to approve a motion to accept the time extension to March 31, 2024, for the Girl Scouts’ land development, 2638 W. Rock Road.

Commissioner Alex Karol made the motion, seconded by board of commissioners’ Vice President Rodney Conn.

Representing the Girl Scouts at the March 9 commissioners’ meeting was Attorney Stephanie A. Kobal of Fitzpatrick Lentz & Bubba Attorneys At Law.

The Girls Scouts previously requested extensions for the project, which includes a new multipurpose building with supporting infrastructure and parking.

Before the vote, two residents questioned township commissioners concerning the time extension.

Jacqueline Straley, who lives near the Girl Scouts camp, asked if the one-year extension would set a precedent for other projects.

“The Scouts have requested extensions in the past. I think that the year [extension] is setting a precedent,” Straley said.

“What precedent is being set?” Karol asked.

“I think the timeline is usually six months,” Straley said.

“It seems to me that they’re [the Girl Scouts] trying to get everything in proper legal order. Why wouldn’t you want anyone to do that?” Karol asked.

“I don’t recall anyone requesting that length of time. It’s no reflection on the plan,” Salisbury Township Manager Cathy Bonaskiewich said.

“This will eliminate them [the Girl Scouts] to get another extension in six months,” board of commissioners’ President Deb Brinton said.

“They’re [the Girl Scouts] granting it [the extension] to us,” Conn said.

“Your decision doesn’t set a precedent. Each decision is an original request,” Salisbury Township Solicitor Attorney John F. “Jack” Gross, Gross McGinley LLP Attorneys At Law said.

“You need to consider the request you have,” Gross said to commissioners prior to the vote.

Jane Benning, a neighbor of the camp, claimed delays in the project are because of a state agency review.

“Have you read any of the reasons from the DEP [Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection]? Seven page of defects. I would suggest the commissioners get those reports,” Benning said.

At the Sept. 14, 2021, meeting of the Salisbury Township Planning Commission, delays in the DEP review of the Girl Scouts’ project were attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, which began roughly in mid-March 2020.

At the September 2021 planners’ meeting, a township official said the Girl Scouts’ project needed a sewer planning module in order to receive a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.

At the September 2021 planners’ meeting, Straley objected to the extension of the plan. It was stated by the township solicitor at that meeting the extension did not set a precedent.

The Salisbury Township Zoning Hearing Board voted March 9, 2020, to approve the Girl Scouts’ appeal to build an approximate 7,000-square foot building that will be heated; bathrooms with showers, sinks and flush toilets; activity rooms; staff offices; “Trading Post” for purchase of Girl Scouts items and a paved parking area for 15 vehicles.

Township zoning hearings were held prior to the COVID-19 shutdown. The first two hearings were Feb. 4 and 18, 2020.

The Girl Scouts submitted a sketch plan for the project to the township planning commission at its Dec. 10, 2019, meeting.

The Girl Scouts have owned the 15.21-acre site as a private recreation area since 1952. A cabin was on the site since 1943.

Upcoming meetings: 7 p.m. March 22: planning commission; 7 p.m. March 23, board of commissioners, in the municipal building, 2900 S. Pike Ave.

Seven Oscars, with �Everything�