Zoning designations and permitted uses continue to be bandied about among two lower Carbon County municipalities.
Members of the Lower Towamensing and Towamensing Township ordinance update committee again met on Monday with R. Steven Dellinger, senior planner, Hanover Engineering Associates, Inc., at the Lower Towamensing Township Municipal Building.
Dellinger opened the session with preliminary draft zoning maps that he presented to members of the committee.
"This was my best effort at translating Lower Towamensing's mark-up for what the proposed zoning categories would look like, while Towamensing was a computerized version of their existing zoning map for them to mark-up and make changes as necessary," Dellinger said. "Some of the dimensions may be off, but the village commercial (in Towamensing) are reasonably close."
Committee member Guy Seifert said Towamensing's intention is to deal specifically with the north side of Beltzville.
Committee member Pete Terp cautioned Towamensing committee members that the trend in Carbon County is going to be tourism.
"You guys gotta look at Route 209 being your corridor," Terp said. "If you're going to have growth, it's going to be 209, so you want to be ahead of the curve."
Committee member Connie Bieling said she believes "one of the important parts in developing is that instead of sliding it across the road is putting in some frontage."
But, Seifert said "it's almost impossible for us to do that right now."
Terp added his take on the situation.
"One of the major suggestions was to take care of traffic situations which are bad, like out by Brodheadsville," he said. "I think by doing service roads, you're eliminating that."
But, Seifert said "the problem with that is you don't have space to put service roads in."
Seifert then added, "there's really no point in having us going in different directions all the time."
Terp said that while Lower Towamensing is comfortable with its plan, Towamensing may have to consider some alternatives down the road.
"I think the only big issue we're going to have is the Little Gap area; this village center will be a controlled look," he said. "I think you're in a situation where you need to think about getting a big box store."
After some consternation, the committee agreed it will next meet for another joint workshop at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27 at the Towamensing Township Municipal Building.
The townships previously formed an implementation agreement in conjunction with the Palmerton Area Comprehensive Plan.
That agreement cost $32,000 – $16,000 for both townships – and represented a $4,000 savings per township as both municipalities seek to refine their outdated zoning and Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO).
In March 2009, the comprehensive plan was approved for Palmerton, Bowmanstown, Towamensing Township and Lower Towamensing Township, the four municipalities that comprise the Palmerton Area School District.
Since its formation, the Western Carbon County and the Central Carbon County Comprehensive Plans have been created.