Alternative energy uses, outdoor wood burners, and provisions for the keeping of exotic animals are issues to be addressed in Towamensing and Lower Towamensing townships.

Members of the ordinance update committee met on Monday with R. Steven Dellinger, senior planner, Hanover Engineering Associates, Inc., at the Towamensing Township Municipal Building.

After some conversation, Dellinger told the committee it was important for it "to discuss specific uses, or uses that aren't provided for at all."

The use of digital billboards throughout the area; building heights in an industrial zoning district; the placement of utility lines underground; driveway permits; and soliciting were concerns shared by committee member Angela Farrell.

Committee member Pete Terp mentioned the importance of alternate energy, while committee member Ron Walbert brought up the use of All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs).

There was also discussion centered around the keeping of animals.

Committee member Roy Christman said that if both townships would have similar ordinances, it would simplify things.

Terp said it's important "to bring everything up to date, specifically the language."

"These areas are starting to progress," Terp said. "We need to be ahead of the curve."

At the committee's instruction, Dellinger said he will prepare sample ordinance criteria for specific uses, as well as preliminary draft zoning maps, by the next meeting

"At some point, we're going to have each of the townships do a little work individually," Dellinger said. "We may take a couple months off and let them work on specific things for each of their townships."

Dellinger said he's "trying to work toward a common zoning ordinance framework for both (townships), realizing that each township may have their own zoning designations and uses permitted."

"I'm trying to standardize definitions so that the procedural aspects are pretty self explanatory, and tweak them individually before they're ready to be adopted," he said. "I'm also doing the subdivision and land development ordinance (SALDO), and a separate stormwater management ordinance; those are more easier to have one ordinance to both."

The committee will next meet at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19, at the Lower Towamensing Township Municipal Building.

An implementation agreement had previously been formed by both townships in conjunction with the Palmerton Area Comprehensive Plan.

The 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 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.