Zoning ordinances are exhaustive documents, setting up detailed rules for seemingly every imaginable type of land use, sign and such.
But every once in a while, a proposal comes along that nobody could have envisioned, despite everybody’s best efforts.
That’s the case in East Lampeter Township, where officials amended the township’s ordinance in 2017. The resulting 381-page document would seem to cover every possibility.
Nevertheless, the ordinance doesn’t specifically address these:
A proposed 28-foot-long spiraling fiberglass sculpture of a Cartoon Network character named Jake, with an 8-foot-tall fiberglass sculpture of his buddy Finn sitting next to him.
The developer of the Cartoon Network Hotel, now being built on Lincoln Highway East next to Dutch Wonderland, wants to put the sculptures of the magical dog Jake and the 12-year-old boy Finn on a roof that shelters the hotel’s front entrance.
While township officials two years ago understandably didn’t foresee a proposal for oversized fiberglass cartoon characters, they did provide for the possibility of something atypical being proposed.
Section 22230.J allows the township to “consider optional design and improvement alternatives if the standard requirements are determined to be unwarranted or inappropriate...”
The hotel developer, Dutch Wonderland, is asking the township to approve the sculptures and an array of Cartoon Network-themed signs under that section of the ordinance.
Township supervisors will consider the conditional-use request in a C-3 (commercial) district at a special meeting at 6 p.m. Monday. The meeting will be in the municipal building, 2250 Old Philadelphia Pike.
Dutch Wonderland announced in October that it was partnering with the popular children’s network to open the network’s first hotel. It will have 165 rooms and up to 50 employees, depending on the season. A summer opening is planned.
“...(E)xtensive effort is going into making the Cartoon Network Hotel a one-of-a-kind experience,” said Dutch Wonderland spokesman Jeffrey Eisenberg on Tuesday.
Eisenberg declined to disclose the project cost. But courthouse records show Dutch Wonderland bought the former Continental Inn property at 2285 Lincoln Highway East for $4.7 million, as LNP previously reported.
Township records show Dutch Wonderland was issued two building permits in December for a total of $1.8 million worth of construction work, a figure that excludes furniture, appliances and other expenses.
If the township supervisors agree, the Cartoon Network Hotel will be replete with signs featuring the network’s characters as well as the fiberglass sculptures.
For example, the versatile electronic gadget BMO will direct arriving guests to the main entrance. In front of guest rooms will be signs depicting the Powerpuff Girls, Steven Universe, Ben 10 and We Bare Bears.