Progress continues to be made on zoning designations and permitted uses in 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 Towamensing Township Municipal Building.
Dellinger began the session with discussion on the status of the Municipal Assistance Program (MAP) Grant Application.
He said he talked to the state governor's center about the requirements of the grant, only to learn that the funding required was reduced to $500,000 for this funding year.
"It's going to be very competitive," Dellinger said. "I think one or the other township has to be the applicant."
It was then agreed that Towamensing Township would be the applicant due to the fact that Lower Towamensing has already applied for some sort of assistance in the past.
Dellinger then asked both townships to update their individual efforts since the group last met in December.
Angela Farrell said Lower Towamensing has been "working on our definitions."
Duane Dellecker, Lower Towamensing Township zoning officer, said they've met four times, and were halfway through with their work on extra standards for specific uses.
The group was then briefed on Towamensing Township's status by Dellinger, who said they've discussed modifications to existing zoning map to create a conservation recreation district; looked at some of the existing zoning districts, such as the local commercial zone north of Beltzville Lake; and various commercial districts along Route 209.
The conversation then shifted to discussion of the Towamensing Township Industrial District.
"Whatever we do, we should have some sort of buffer," Dellinger said. "You have to come up with some type of limited industrial that would not allow more intensive industrial uses."
Dellinger then asked whether there was any questions or discussion on the uses provided for in the existing zoning ordinances/uses not listed and sample use criteria, to which there wasn't.
The group then moved on to discussion of sample/proposed zoning definitions, at which point Dellinger said he went through the two existing ordinances to compare definitions that were unique or common.
"I found that the vast majority of uses, definitions, aren't the same," he said. "We want to try to have uniformity for the townships, have terms used in both ordinances, and settle on one definition for both townships."
Christine Meinhart of Towamensing Township noted that "some of those definitions in both of those townships are antiquated to begin with."
"I think both municipalities are short on definitions," Meinhart said. "Both townships in the past have gotten in trouble with the lack of definitions."
Dellinger said he would continue to look at both existing definitions.
The group also discussed matters such as signage and junkyards.
It was then decided that Dellinger would attend the March 12 meeting of the Towamensing Township planners to continue refining the zoning map.
The next meeting of the ordinance update committee will be held at 7 p.m. March 26 at the Lower 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.