Fireworks store gets approval to open in Antrim Township

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

A retail fireworks store should be open in Antrim Township by April 2012. Keystone Novelties and Augusta Partners LLC received approval to set up shop from the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors May 14 following a conditional use hearing. The session was necessary since the proposed use of the 17 acres on the southwest corner of exit 3 was in a highway commercial zone.

Keystone owner and president Brian Shaub presented preliminary plans for the site, which he declared exceeded all ordinance regulations. The store would be similar to three others of his in Pennsylvania, the nearest by Gettysburg. The front would house retail products and the rear would be a warehouse. He wanted 100 parking spaces, more than adequate, he predicted.

"We do 80 percent of our business in one week for the whole year," Shaub said. "Then it's a ghost town."

The facility would have a 20,000 gallon tank for a fire suppression system, designed to flow for an hour. He did not expect any fire company to enter the building if it should become enflamed. He would install fire and burglar alarms, carry $6 million of liability insurance though only $2 million was required, and undergo annual inspections by the Department of Agriculture. Employees would be trained in the handling of hazardous materials, and for three days near New Year's and seven days around July 4, security would screen customers to prevent lighters, matches or anything flammable from being carried onto the premises.

One section of the store would hold the fireworks legal for Pennsylvania residents to buy, and the rest would be for out-of-state customers. If Greencastle or Antrim issued a permit for someone setting off fireworks for an event, they could purchase the materials at Keystone. The company did not handle display fireworks. None would be manufactured on site, as Shaub said that market was controlled by China. The goods would be delivered by tractor trailers.

Planning Commission members Delbert Myers, Larry Eberly, Richard Walck and Lester Musselman, and supervisors Sam Miller, James Byers, Fred Young III, Curtis Myers and Rick Baer had one main concern, where trucks should park, since no spaces were dedicated to that purpose. Shaub agreed to mark two spots for them. No one from the public spoke during the hearing. Both boards unanimously approved the conditional use of the land.

Tom Burke, a partner of Shaub, said they planned to fill the rest of the parcel eventually, and he had spoken to hotel chains, Sheetz and a pharmacy. Since placement of the road into the property had now been decided, he said it would be easier to promote the site.

Other business

Chairman Miller opened the regular meeting by congratulating John Alleman and Pat Heraty for their victories in the primary election on the Republican ticket. Their names will be on the ballot for supervisor in the fall general election. Miller came in third for the two open seats.

"They will serve you well," he said. "I'm glad they won."

Myers asked the board to reconsider its May 12 unanimous decision to allow students from the Franklin County Career and Technology Center to build the concession stand at Antrim Township Community Park. He thought the two years they needed was too long, and the park would lose out on reserving the field to ball teams who wanted a stand in operation. If FCCTC did the construction, the cost to Antrim would be for student transportation, insurance and materials.

"Using the votech for other projects would be great," he said.

Byers asked for a little time to look into a Costars program he learned about at the PSATS conference. Predesigned buildings could be erected and would likely still qualify for Antrim's DCNR matching grant. Antrim also had a plan which had been approved. The supervisors wanted to make use of the remaining grant funds, which would expire at the end of the year. Secretary Mary Klein said about half of the $225,000 grant had already been spent.