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US: Greenlight for 5 acre greenhouse proposal in Pennsylvania

A greenhouse facility for hot-house tomatoes could be built on Middlesex Road. Township zoning officer Mark Carpenter told Middlesex Township supervisors Wednesday that the proposal in Carlisle has been given preliminary approval.

Toigo Orchards, of Shippensburg, suggested the project for the 5-acre site at 85 S. Middlesex Road, where it would be in keeping with current agricultural use.Carpenter said the basic plan for the facility — which according to Toigo representatives will begin with a single large tomato greenhouse with the possibility of more being built later — has now passed muster with Grove and the planning commission.

Questions had arisen concerning runoff from the vast area covered by a large greenhouse operation. However, according to Toiga representatives, structures would be designed to catch, save and divert rainwater for irrigating the crops growing within.

Carpenter said such a strategy was known and is considered a “best storm water practice.” He said that the facility, which would continue an agricultural use at the site should potentially be a “win-win” for the township.

At Wednesday night’s meeting, board chairman Don Geistwhite said that the sale of the property and its conveyance also could generate “a nice piece of change” for the township in the form of a transfer tax.

Toigo Orchards proposed the project at last month’s regular supervisors meeting, but had been referred to a special mid-month workshop meeting during which township engineer Bud Grove evaluated the plan in more detail.

Fire chief Ed Beam said a projected time frame of spring 2014 has now been set to commence work on Wolf’s Bridge over Conodoguinet Creek in the township. Beam said workers will maintain traffic flow in one direction only during construction.

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