Ephrata Twp. officials critical of firm's growth
nWeaver Street Metal withdraws its zoning application after board airs concerns. BY KIMBERLY MARSELAS, Correspondent
Following a rough reception from officials in Ephrata Township, the owners of Weaver Sheet Metal have pulled an application seeking permission to add employees and construct a storage building in an agricultural area.
An attorney for Daniel and Violet Weaver last month presented expansion plans to the board of supervisors, who were surprised to learn that the operation had already grown to 19 employees.
The township originally granted the Weavers approval in 1988 for five employees and a 6,000-square foot building for sheet-metal fabrication.
"Since then, they've expanded and expanded and expanded to 19 employees, and they never came back to the township," supervisor Ty Zerbe said Monday. "They completely disregarded the township, and, in my mind, they must now go to an industrial site."
Township manager Steve Sawyer said the application was submitted after the supervisors aired their concerns at a meeting on Jan. 15, but then it was quickly withdrawn.
According to documents submitted by their attorney, Mathew Creme, the Weavers' business now encompasses steel fabrication for food processing and mushroom industries, as well as the rebuilding of heavy equipment for resale. Though they reside on the site -- a nearly 54-acre farm at 214 S. Market St. -- the Weavers no longer do any agricultural business there. The Weavers, Zerbe said, rent out the remaining crop land.
In a narrative accompanying the zoning application, the Weavers laid out plans to build an 80-foot-by-300-foot facility that would give them 27,180 square feet for storage.
"The Weavers desire to be a good neighbor to the surrounding properties and feel that by constructing a storage building they can clean up some of the 'clutter' on the site," the narrative states.
But Zerbe said he was concerned that if the company used that entire space as storage, the remaining agricultural buildings could then be freed up for commercial purposes.
He said the township generally works with quasi-agricultural businesses operating in agricultural zones, but that the Weavers "stretched it too far."
Though the company is in violation of its zoning exceptions, township officials are allowing the Weavers to continue to operate. The matter will be discussed again at a supervisors meeting on Feb. 5.
"We're going to have to continue discussions and see … how we get them into compliance," said Sawyer, who also serves as the township's zoning officer.
Zerbe said his hope would be that the township gives the Weavers a specific time period to find a new location in an area zoned for industrial use.
For more Ephrata area news, visit: