Ekta Hospitality LLC, owners of the Holiday Inn Express & Suites, at 120 Walnut Bottom Road in Shippensburg Township, submitted land development plans for a second hotel, and is requesting approval of an exception to township zoning code.

The zoning hearing board will hold a special meeting Monday at 5 p.m. at the municipal building on Walnut Bottom Road, for the proposed Hampton Inn & Suites, regarding required setbacks of any parking or access drives from Walnut Bottom Road. The company is requesting a variance of 35 feet, versus the required 50 feet from any arterial road.

A spokesman for the company said the mini casino, which is planned to be constructed on a re-positioned Cramer Road, is the driving force for wanting to build another hotel. The casino is awaiting the final approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

“We own the Holiday Inn Express. There is a casino coming into the market,” a spokesman for the hospitality company said. “There's a lot of business going on, and we feel that there is a need for another hotel.”

According to submitted plans, the three-story hotel would have 70 rooms, and would be constructed next to the Holiday Inn Express & Suites. These hotels would exist on the southern side of Walnut Bottom Road, a half mile from the Interstate 81 exit ramp.

The hotel would have a building footprint of 16,930 square feet and have 153 parking spaces. The property sits slightly in Southampton (Cumberland) Township.

In order to meet township zoning code, the company also submitted a subdivision plan to take over .83 acres of the neighboring property, owned by Mervin and Lori Oberholzer. Ekta Hospitality’s parcel of land will increase from 4.62 acres to 5.45 acres as a result.

In regard to the zoning variance request, Tim Cormany, vice president of planning, Martin and Martin, said, “I encouraged them to give it a shot, and see what happens at the zoning hearing board. I think there is definitely a case to be made there that we have ample room from the road and the topographic conditions out there are such that we're not imposing any additional threat out there.”

The special zoning hearing is scheduled, but does not mean a decision will be made that same meeting. The Shippensburg Township Planning Commission will need to take action at a later date if the zoning variance is approved, and the board of township supervisors will then need to also approve it before permits can be obtained.

There has been a lot of activity in the township with construction on a Starbucks within the Shippensburg Shopping Center on Walnut Bottom Road recently breaking ground.

Supervisor Steve Oldt said at a recent township meeting: “We’ve got like five land development plans going on all at the same, I don't know when we’ve ever had something like that.”

Other business

The board also discussed the following items at Saturday’s meeting:

  • Shippensburg University is reportedly having all sophomores live on campus next school year. The university has not responded to a request for comment.

  • The C.V. Hose Co. and Vigilant Hose Co. merger could happen sooner than expected. Chief Clyde Tinner said it could be late September/early October. The original date was Jan. 1, 2020.

  • Oldt noted there has been more cooperation and communication between municipalities and the university than in years’ past, like with Shippensburg Borough’s recent efforts to attract more people to downtown.

  • Oldt noted there is interest in a property next to the Total Lube Center Plus on Walnut Bottom Road, owned by Anna Wiser, by a developer who would like to possibly build a Dunkin’ Donuts. No plans have been submitted at this time. 

  • Supervisors passed a resolution 2-0 to increase the fee for tax certification from $10 to $20 for the tax collector.

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