Proposed Hospital Facility In Hampden Township
Hampden Township has received numerous comments and questions about the proposed new hospital. The following provides as much information as the Township has at this time.
1) Although Penn State Health has issued a press release regarding the proposed hospital project, Hampden Township has not received any official land development submissions. Therefore, I am currently unable to address any specific questions regarding the proposed project, site improvements or traffic impacts. Those items, and many more, will be reviewed to ensure compliance with all Township Ordinances once an official plan is submitted to the Township. Eventually, the proposed project will need to be presented in public meetings to both the Township Planning Commission and the Board of Commissioners. During those meetings, the Township and the public will get a better appreciation of Penn State Health’s plans and the public can provide comments and ask questions during those meetings.
2) Per State law, a Township’s Ordinances can’t regulate how many types of similar businesses or facilities are constructed within its municipal boundaries. Specific to hospital facilities, a number of years ago, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania opted to no longer require a hospital to issue a Certificate of Need justifying its existence. This allows an operator of a hospital to determine, on its own, whether or not an additional facility is needed and where it should be placed.
3) The site where Penn State Health has indicated its intentions to construct a hospital is zoned for such a facility and has been since 2001. That change in zoning land use was approved during a public meeting. In addition to that tract being zoned for a hospital use, it is also zoned for professional office space. In fact, previously the property was approved for the construction of a 300,000 square foot office complex. That office complex was obviously never constructed but it could have been as it met all the requirements of the Township Ordinances and was approved during a public meeting of the Township.
Ultimately, the Township can’t prevent a property owner from developing a property if it complies with Township Ordinances.
I encourage you to monitor the Township website for meeting agendas of the Planning Commission and Board of Commissioners so you are aware of when these planning meetings will include the proposed hospital project. The Township website is www.hampdentownship.us Please look for the agendas under the heading of “Boards and Authorities” at the top of the webpage.
Keith B. Metts
230 S. Sporting Hill Road
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050