Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Ephrata Twp. zoners consider fitness center expansion
BY KIMBERLY MARSELAS, Correspondent
The owners of an Ephrata Township fitness center are seeking permission to nearly double in size by moving to a new location.
Chad Stauffer, co-owner of Ephrata Fitness, asked the Ephrata Township Zoning Hearing Board on March 19 for a special exception that would allow the gym to expand.
Stauffer plans to move the 2-year-old fitness center from a 3,900-square-foot facility at 338 N. Reading Road in the Trout Run Business Center to a vacant 7,000-square-foot parcel within the center.
Because the township's zoning ordinance doesn't require a specific number of parking spaces for fitness facilities, much of the testimony at the hearing centered on Ephrata Fitness' membership numbers and hours of operation.
The bulk of the gym's classes are offered in the early morning and evening. Stauffer said Ephrata Fitness also offers equipment-based workouts when trainers are on duty.
He said parking has never been an issue because most of his traffic is gone when other businesses are open.
Stauffer said the main reason for the move was to provide more room during CrossFit and kickboxing classes.
"When you have a bigger class, you don't want people on top of each other," said Stauffer, who estimated that classes average 15 participants, with a maximum of 25.
The gym now has about 120 members, down from a peak of about 175. Stauffer said he has no plans to hire additional employees.
John Haller, whose family partnership owns Trout Run Center, supported Stauffer's request.
Haller testified that if the gym moves, a graphics company next door would expand into Stauffer's current location.
He said a limited number of spaces also could be added to the 16-store shopping center if parking becomes a problem.
The facility Stauffer wants to move into was last used by an archery company but has been vacant for more than three years.
The board will issue a decision in the case at its next meeting on April 16.
In a separate matter, the board heard a request on behalf of Frances B. Martin, who wants to build a horse barn at her home at 1160 Division Highway.
After hearing limited testimony on the request, the board asked a representative for Martin to return next month with more specific information on the size of the lot and building.
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