Urban Outfitters’ zoning hearing delayed in Salisbury

URBNA much-anticipated zoning hearing on a major proposed project in Salisbury Township drew attendees from as far as Maryland and as near as New Holland. But Urban Outfitters‘ plan for a 1 million-square-foot warehouse in Gap was a no-show.

Fifth on the agenda at the Tuesday, June 25, meeting of Salisbury’s zoning hearing board was an Urban Outfitters appeal for waivers of signage and building-height restrictions.

But after presiding over four hearings on more modest projects, zoning chairman Larry Miller announced that the mega-retailer had requested a continuance. The board approved the request and will consider the waivers at its next hearing on Tuesday, July 23.

The township and the Pequea Valley School District support a Keystone Opportunity Zone designation, granting the firm tax exemptions for 10 years. County and state approval is also needed, and the county commissioners voted Wednesday, June 26, to approve the zone. The $105 million distribution center would employ up to 1,500 workers.

Consultant A. Scott Crockett Jr. of SC&H Group LLC in Sparks, Md., complained that he drove two hours to represent the owners of land adjacent to the site that Urban Outfitters is considering. Crockett was advised to call ahead of time to avoid wasted travel in the future.

Also in attendance was Bruce L. Clark of The Clark Group Ltd., of New Holland. Clark said he represents another landowner who supports the Urban Outfitter proposal and “wants to see something happen.”

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14 responses to “Urban Outfitters’ zoning hearing delayed in Salisbury

  1. 1,500 jobs. That would be awesome for this area. Is there anything that we can do to voice our support for this project?

    • From what I am hearing there is strong support, but making a few calls and going to meetings wouldn’t hurt. This area is competing with at least 2 others. It will probably come down to which area makes it easiest, and gives the sweetest deal (as in tax breaks and such).

  2. Losing 52 acres of prime farm land that has been protected by Clean and Green with tax breaks, shifting the burden to homeowners. This super wealthy international company will pay approximately $3,600 a year in total taxes for 10 years while generating billions in profits. Total Tax break over $17,000,000. Traffic jams that will make the current logjams in Gap look like the Autobahn. Everybody wants the jobs as should be, but Corporate Welfare is running wild and this is one of the worst examples. Someone has to foot the bill for increased infrastructure. The not yet started by-pass was needed and designed to alleviate problems already apparent on the roads with NO consideration for the increases this behemoth will add. The by-pass goes around Gap with truck traffic to support a warehouse as big as Park City Mall, forget the rest of Route 30 East and West of Gap as well as Route 41 South. All of the increased traffic can by-pass Gap, but then where will it go? I’m all for increased jobs, but that is sadly not the only consideration.

    • It will be 1500 jobs, right? Let’s say the average wage is only $24,000/year (that is an arbitrary number, and probably low). So, you could look at it as losing a potential $17 Million in taxes over 10 years, or you could look at it as approx. $36 Million injected into the local economy every year thru salaries. How much of that will go to that state and local governments over 10 years? Should the area try to compete for those jobs, or cut off the nose to spite the face and just let them go elsewhere? This is not the same as putting a life-sucking Walmart at 10 & 30, that then leaches the community dry.

      • You’d have to assume everyone hired was living in Salisbury township wouldn’t you to say it’s an injection into the local economy? You could look at the Naval Shipyard in South Philly where their headquarters are. I guess you could argue we’d all be better off with Gap looking like that. I always thought of you as an advocate for Property Tax reform and lower school taxes. Why not eliminate the property tax all together and give the property owners the same break Urban Outfitters is getting? That way UO wouldn’t even have to pay the $3600 a year. Corporate profit for UO last year topped $199,000,000. Even if they had to pay the full tax it would be $1,760,000 per year. That’s less than 1%. How would you like your property tax to be less than 1% of your NET income next year? If your net family income is $100,000 and you had a property tax burden similar to what UO would have paying $1,760,000, your property tax would be approximately $887 per year for the school, county and township! Put it another way. By paying $3600 a year against NET income of $199,000,000 that is equivalent to a person with $100,000 of net family income paying $1.80 a year in total property taxes. This is clearly a case of property owners subsidizing Urban Outfitters for 10 years. If the Township, County and State can move this quickly to give tax relief to UO, why have they been unable to do the same for the citizens in all these years? Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2013 11:10:37 +0000 To: davidjones384@msn.com

  3. I can appreciate your resentment to corporate welfare.

    That being said, look at the list of all of the graduating Parkesburg students looking for “employment”. These are kids that deserve an opportunity, the same opportunity that you were given years ago, to obtain gainful employment.

    Local taxpayers will not be footing the bill for the majority of traffic infrastructure.

    Think about country gardens, dyers deli, dutchway, and all of the other locally owned businesses that will benefit from this. It could also give a much needed kick to the real estate market; the families that have lamented the lack of demand will suddenly have neighbors with decent jobs interested in settling down.

    This area needs business, and 10 years of tax breaks, in my opinion, is a small price to pay.

    • You may be right and only time will tell. Look at how difficult it is now to pull in and out of businesses along Route 30. Add this additional truck traffic and what do you think will happen? I believe the full rate of taxes for them being less than 1% of their corporate yearly profit is a fair rate. I believe in sharing the load fairly. Remember the Supreme Court gave corporations the same rights as individuals. Why shouldn’t they have to pay the same tax rate? Businesses have been given tax breaks like these for years and the financial long term benefit to the communities is highly questionable. Apple got a similar break and when it ran out they moved operations to China. I believe there is at least as great a likelihood of that kind of long term outcome as there is a long term benefit to the community. Once a farm is gone it will never come back. Somebody thought it was a good idea to create tax shelters to keep farms in PA. So, now we find out we subsidized the farmer for all these years so he can cash his gold parachute? Is that the real purpose of Clean and Green? All I’m saying is this is not the greatest thing since sliced bread. It has just as many down sides.

  4. David,

    If this area was not competing for those jobs with other areas, I would certainly oppose tax breaks. Reality is, the loss of those jobs means more than the potential property tax losses (paper losses mostly) that the farm is already getting a break on.

    When I say the local area, I don’t mean just Salisbury Twp, I’m talking about the whole local area. The jobs will draw people into the area. Workers will shop in the area. They will buy homes in the area. Local businesses will benefit at every level. The jobs are also important to Parkesburg, even if it doesn’t directly bring people into town.

    As far as property tax reform, the plans I have seen would eventually strip all power from local government. I personally believe in keeping the most power at the lowest levels possible.

    Tax breaks for farmers… I wouldn’t lose any sleep if those tax breaks went away. They may one day, but there is no real support for a change at the moment.

    We have a big, complicated tax system because that is the way people in Washington (and to a lesser extent Harrisburg) want it… on the Left and the Right. Our tax system generates campaign contributions from corporations and voter loyalty. A flat income tax would save billions of dollars and eliminate all those deductions, but would put those the poor IRS out of work, destroy the whole industry that has evolved around paying taxes, and heaven forbid people don’t get to write-off mortgage interest and medical payments.

    At the end of the day, I am in favor of eliminating all deduction for everyone, as a way of making taxes fairer and lower for everyone overall. Unfortunately, there are too many “special interests” working to cut their own deal…. from corporations to unions to this group to that.

    • I don’t disagree with much of what you are saying, but the State has the fiduciary responsibility to provide education and I think taking it all to that level would be a good thing. Condense the school districts down to one per county and tax it all on the state level. I understand the impact of UO on the whole area and I don’t dispute those benefits, I just say they do not come free. How much do you think UO contributes to campaigns? That’s how they get corporate welfare like this. I am in favor of a flat tax with NO deductions, corporate or individuals.
      Its hard to quantify the loss of jobs that don’t exist Tim. It reminds me of something Little Joe Cartwright said once when someone asked him if he missed his mother who had died when he was born. “You can’t miss something you never had.” Every time I drive West on Route 30 now I follow a caravan of tracker trailors. The same is true going south on 41. The 30 by-pass east is terribly crowded as well. These are the only routes the UO traffic will have.

      • You seriously don’t think one can measure the quantity of 1500 new jobs? …1500 people who were once unemployed or underemployed now working and the millions in new money? Like I said before, this is not a Walmart where the impact of jobs created is the loss of other businesses and jobs. This is not a business siphoning dollars out of the community. It is injecting dollars into the community.

        • Do you seriously believe that all of the 1500 jobs are going to be filled by people who were previously unemployed or underemployed? What does that mean by the way, underemployed? I am not disputing that they will inject dollars into the community. What I am saying is there is a trade off and it’s not “all” good. On the down side is the loss of farm land and once it is gone it will not come back. As you visit the grocery stores you will notice that we are becoming more and more dependent on foreign countries for our food. That food is grown with far less safety requirements than in the US. Some people even believe being so dependent on other countries for our basic survival is a national security risk.

          The other trade off in my mind is the increase in traffic and congestion sure to follow. I believe they will end up moving most of this product to ports for shipments to other areas. I know you make your living by seeing more and more homes bought and sold and built and sold, so the ever expanding development of farm land is a good thing to you. I am suggesting there is another view as well, that this type of development is not all it’s cracked up to be and it is mostly driven by political payoffs and financed by homeowners whose tax burdens increase in direct relationship to the corporate welfare a company like UO receives.

          I support strategic planning that keeps industrial areas were they are the most beneficial and not spreading them out to where the path of least tax resistance occurs. I know I am a minority in this opinion and I am comfortable in that role.

          • un·der·em·ployed adjective \ˌən-dər-im-ˈplȯid\ : having less than full-time, regular, or adequate employment (Merriam-Webster)

            My biggest concern is not losing farm land, it is that development will leap frog Parkesburg and Octorara.

          • David Jones

            I know the dictionary definition Tim, I was asking the context in which you were using the term specifically. Do you mean people who work 40 hours a week, but don’t earn enough to live above the poverty line? The meaning of “adequate” employment can change depending on which worker or employer you are speaking to. I don’t imagine you support expanding Medicaid so the working poor and their children have “adequate” health care? I think many people feel they are not adequately compensated. I know there were many years when I felt I didn’t have adequate employment to meet all of my needs. During those stressful years I held a second part-time job and even a third part-time job to get by and pay all my bills.
            I still maintain that it is highly unlikely 1500 jobs will be filled by the unermployed and the under employed. Do you happen to know what these warehouse jobs at UO will pay? That might be important to know before we assume they will be adequately compensated. Labor costs are often set by the marketplace in which the jobs are created. I wouldn’t automatically assume UO will pay that much better than Walmart and the rest of the tourist and service jobs in the area.
            I would still caution that actually measuring the “specific” economic impact of UO on our region is a dicy proposition, there are too many uncontrolled variables in my humble view to be able to isolate the specific impact of UO.
            When you say skip Parkesburg I assume you mean the confines of the borough, since much of what is all around us is actually listed in the Parkesburg zip code and post office. I guess we will always differ on farmland Tim. I do feel a terrible sense of loss everytime I see a local area farm go to housing and strip centers. I see that more as the destructive nature of greed taking over the backbone of our once prosperous agricultural heritage. For the future development of more industry in the Octorara district the only place it can go is on currently occupied farmland. We see it along 41 and 10 where the land is currently for sale or sold and I’m sure that at some point you will get your wish and those verdant fields will be turned to blacktop, but I for one don’t see that as a necessary or good thing. Let’s keep in mind UO is a retail business. Retail businesses are not known for paying their unskilled labor high wages.

          • Do you know how boring it is to try to discuss issues with someone who just wants to bicker? Long-winded, filibustering posts only dissuades people from reading.

            As far as saving farmland, you do know where in the world Parkesburg and the Octorara Area School District sit, right? Most know we are the fringe of the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area, but few have heard of the Northeast Megalopolis. Simple geography means no matter what is done or not done, this area eventually will become more and more developed, and less and less rural–urban fringe.

            “We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. … Resistance is futile.”

            Of course, eventually could be a very long time. People who want a prosperous Parkesburg need to support diversified development or this town’s best days are behind her. Do we want a bustling town with a thriving business community or do we want to become Chester County’s armpit, where once well-maintained single family homes have been converted to multi-unit rentals by investors and no retail business in its right mind would invest within the boarders?

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