Red Lion Country Club preserved, for now

On August 8th the York Township Board of Supervisors voted to deny rezoning of the 59-acre Red Lion Country Club.

Area residents engaged CEDS in June to assist in preserving the golf course, preferably as parkland. During our analysis we found that the York Township Comprehensive Plan showed that there were no Township parks in southeast York Township. The 2015 York Township Recreation Plan set the goal 10 acres of parkland for every thousand residents. After eight years there were still only 9.8 acres of parkland/1,000 residents. To add insult to this injury, the Township had just acquired the 68.6-acres of new parkland near two existing parks: York Township Park and Markey Park as shown in the map below.

The 59-acre golf course site had been purchased as a possible school location by the Red Lion Area School District. Since the Red Lion Country Club site was already public-school property it could become a much-needed park in southeast York Township. Adding these 59 acres would put Township parkland at 11.7 acres/1,000 residents – well over the goal of 10 acres/1000 residents!

CEDS also assessed golf course development impacts to Barshinger Creek which flows through the rezoning site. Barshinger Creek has served as an outdoor classroom for area school children. The creek supports a recreational fishery. There are a number of efforts underway to prevent Barshinger Creek from become further degraded. CEDS found that there was enough stormwater pollution and other impacts coming from existing watershed development to have caused Barshinger Creek to degrade from a Good to Fair quality stream. This decline put in jeopardy the headwaters of Barshinger Creek as an outdoor classroom with an abundant and diverse population of aquatic life. The decline may also be approaching a point where wading in the stream may no longer be advisable. Additionally, there were concerns about impacts to wildlife inhabiting the site.

On August 8th the York Township Board of Supervisors voted 4 to 1 to deny the rezoning request. In addition to the analysis of park needs, CEDS also assisted preservation advocates by creating an online petition and drafting testimony presented at Township hearings. Between the online petition and paper petitions, more than a thousand Township residents called for preserving the site.

While this was an impressive victory, it may only be temporary. The site owner – Red Lion Area School District – may still seek to sell the golf course for development. It is for this reason that CEDS has urged area residents to use the momentum from their rezoning victory to convince the Township or others to purchase the 59 acres for creation of a much needed park in southeastern York Township.

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