The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

December 8, 2008

Supervisors approve rezoning for new Lowe’s store

EBENSBURG — At a time when stores are closing and towns are suffering from a poor economy, Cambria Township on Monday opened the door to welcome a new home-improvement store and other shops near the Wal-Mart Plaza.

Ebensburg developer Dino Persio received unanimous approval from the board of supervisors to rezone his property from residential to commercial.

Despite a large crowd of neighboring homeowners, there was a minimum of opposition.

Only one nearby homeowner, Ron Adams, objected to the plan and argued that other sites were more suitable for stores.

“People are moving back to these small towns like Ebensburg, and they want to be closer to schools and churches. Ebensburg spent millions of dollars putting in recreational facilities to make this happen,” Adams said.

“Now we are looking at prime residential property while there is all sorts of property that is suitable for restaurants, Lowe’s and the like.”

Adams cited traffic backups on Route 22 and other concerns if more retail commerce goes in.

The opposing view was presented by Dan Decker, owner of nearby Decker Diamond Jewelers. He argued that overall, a retail addition to the Wal-Mart Shopping Center will be “a benefit to the community.”

The proposal also calls for the construction of an access road adjacent to Decker’s Jewelers, which would allow access to the new stores.

Persio said that when he developed the Wal-Mart Plaza in 1998, he intended to enlarge it in the future.

The Cambria County Planning Commission approved the zoning change by letter. It now goes to the township planning commission.

It is before that agency that issues such as traffic and storm-water management will be discussed.

Robert Shook, chairman of the board of supervisors, praised the financial implications of the project.

“Cambria Township has been fortunate as far as its tax rate goes. There has been enough development that we have not increased taxes in 17 years. If we turn development down, then what would we do?” Shook said.

The vote was unanimous to approve the rezoning.

Persio has indicated that a restaurant and smaller stores are likely to accompany the larger Lowe’s store.

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