CHURCHHILL, Pa. (KDKA) — A group of people protested before a special meeting about the possibility of an Amazon distribution center being built in Churchill Borough.
#BREAKING Churchill planning commission recommended approval of conditional use application submitted by Hillwood Development to redevelop Westinghouse site into an Amazon distribution center. If approved,the applicant will ask borough to proceed w/land development approval.@KDKA pic.twitter.com/0DbOWbouYDREAD MORE: Report: Developer Linked To Churchill Amazon Project Drops Bid For $10 Million State Grant
— Jessica Guay (@JessicaGuayTV) July 15, 2021
Just before 1:00 a.m., the borough planning commission recommended approval of the conditional use application by Hillwood Development to redevelop the Westinghouse Research and Technology Park and making it an Amazon distribution center.
Those conditions will be submitted to Amazon and will be available on the borough website on Friday.
Hillwood Development, meanwhile, is awaiting for the conditional use application to be cleared before they ask Churchill Borough to proceed with the land development approval.
Many residents who spoke in the meeting and people who protested before the meeting want to keep Amazon out of Churchill.
“I think Jeff Bezos should take his operation to the Moon or Mars with him, I really do. We don’t want corporations like Amazon. Amazon has done nothing but destroy small businesses everywhere they go,” said Mike Stout, president of the Allegheny County chapter of Izaak Walton League.READ MORE: Churchill Residents Confront Borough Council Members Over Amazon Distribution Center Proposal
The Churchill Borough Planning Commission held a virtual meeting to make its recommendation on pending applications to transform the old Westinghouse site into an Amazon distribution center. The pending applications are for conditional use and land development approval.
“We’re really excited about this opportunity in Churchill, to become their prospective tenant,” said Brad Griggs, a senior manager for Amazon Economic Development.
Griggs said the site would become a robotics fulfillment center with the highest volume of products.
“It’s our highest-end facility and the most state-of-the-art, advanced robotics, building systems and forefront on the climate pledge on what we’re trying to do,” said Griggs.
Many residents have voiced that they’re worried about air quality, noise, tractor-trailer traffic and tree removal.
“There is no good reason, in my opinion, to have Amazon destroy our earth, our community, our health, our safety, our well-being for jobs that won’t really help people,” said Sandy Fox, a Churchill Borough resident.
Several residents’ concerns were addressed by those involved with the development plans Wednesday night, but it’s still unknown if Amazon is coming to the borough.
“We recognize this would be a significant change to the borough but excited to bring 1,000 to 1,500 new jobs and tax revenue,” Lafe Metz, an attorney for Hillwood Development.
The group of protestors wants the borough council’s public hearing on July 19 to be in person and not virtual. The public hearing will be on July 19 at 6 p.m. and the hearing is expected to take multiple days to complete.