A few residents along Ashtown Road have finally had a concern addressed Wednesday evening as township officials voted 4-1 to alter the township's zoning map to convert their properties from an industrial zone to a residential zone.
The problem was brought to their attention several months ago when retired township worker, Nevin Reichard asked them how to get the township to correct the map. He was interested in selling the lot next to his when he learned the township had zoned them industrial instead of residential which had the effect of not allowing a home to be built on it.
As supervisors looked into it they learned that a previous attempt to update the zoning map failed and when it did the changes that were included in that alteration did not occur. While the supervisors requested Reichard and the other property owners pay a minimal administrative fee to request the change be adopted again, they agreed to look into the matter.
Earlier this month during a hearing at which two of the appellants were in attendance, the supervisors heard no objections to the change so the ordinance was drafted for last evening's meeting. When the motion was made and accepted to adopt the ordinance, Supervisor George Stawnyczyj was the lone dissenter to adopting the ordinance.
"I don't think it is appropriate to adopt this change. It did not follow the procedure and should have been heard by the zoning board first. In addition Nevin did not even appear at the hearing," he said.
Chairperson Pat Snyder told Stawnyczyj that she didn't think it was fair to punish residents for a zoning decision apparently made in error by the township. Stawnyczyj said he believed the properties were originally zoned that way because of the old airport and that by changing them to residential it could affect the neighboring business as it would no longer meet the buffer requirements.
Supervisor John Wieczorek refuted Stawnyczyj's claim that the procedure was improper. "We did what the solicitor told us we could do. The procedure was correct because the original change was overlooked [when the previous attempt failed with a previous board] and it was never revisited," he said adding that he didn't believe what they did was improper.
Snyder added the lot that originated the request which Reichard was trying to sell would be between two homes and it didn't make sense for an industrial zoned lot to be between two residences anyway.
In the end, Stawnyczyj stood alone as the sole negative vote to approve the ordinance changing Reichard's properties and his neighbor's lot from industrial to residential while Snyder, Wieczorek, Bruce Steigerwalt and Travis Steigerwalt all voted in favor of the change.