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York County auto salvage yard gets initial green light to expand

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NEWBERRY TWP., Pa. - A York County auto salvage yard located in a residential area has been given the initial go-ahead in its efforts to expand.

The Newberry Township zoning hearing board Monday unanimously approved a conditional use permit for the LKQ salvage yard on River Road, so that it could expand its operation by ten acres on land it already owns.

"Right now, given our limited space that we have, we can't allow the cars to sit as long as we can, which means we have to move them down, process them to crush and haul them out," LKQ plant manager Charles Black said in testimony to the board.

The salvage yard operations are difficult to see from the roads around it because of the wooded areas surrounding it, but according to neighbors, hearing the operations are a different story.

"You come out to this, you want to be out and you want it to be quiet," neighbor Tom Ream said. "You don't want to live in an industrial park. This does nothing for the community. It's basically they offer jobs, and that's it."

LKQ made no comment beyond what was stated in open testimony during the hearing, and stated it will do what it can to continue to take care of the site.

"You do not see their yards being cluttered, you don't see their yards allowing accumulation of trash," said Chris Hoover, a consultant for LKQ. "We are very aware of the neighborhood. We do want to be good neighbors to the neighbors and so we'll do what we can to minimize those impacts."

Residents said they had environmental and traffic concerns, although LKQ stated in testimony that they hoped the expansion would result in fewer trucks driving to the yard because it would have more room to store vehicles.

Another concern was the potential for reduced property values near the yard.

"It's actually disheartening to know I've spent the last two and a half years with my fiance, the co-homeowner, putting tens of thousands of dollars in my property that may be lost with property value loss because of this," said Dara Cozzi, a neighbor.

LKQ will spend the next few months designing and drafting a land management plan that will still require township approval.