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Lower Towamensing Zoning Board's meeting on ordinance is scrapped

Published January 11. 2012 05:01PM

A request by a Lower Towamensing Township business for a variance to erect several additions onto its property appears to have been scrapped.

Representatives from AMPAL, Inc., of 2125 Little Gap Road, were scheduled to go before the township's Zoning Hearing Board on Tuesday in search of a variance for the height requirements of a section of the township zoning ordinance.

But, the hearing, scheduled for 7 p.m., never occurred. A memo posted on the front door of the township municipal building said that the meeting had been canceled, and that no new meeting will be scheduled.

The hearing was to originally have occurred on Nov. 29. At that time, representatives from AMPAL, along with about 15 residents attended.

Delayed by 35 minutes due to the lack of a stenographer, that hearing finally got under way after the township secretary arrived at the township municipal building to provide the board with a tape recorder.

Board solicitor Holly Heintzelman then asked those who may potentially want to give testimony to be sworn in. Afterward, zoning board Chairman Jim Ord asked whether each of the adjoining property owners who live within 200 feet of the business had been notified of the hearing. At that time, two members of the public in attendance that are adjoining property owners said they never received any certified mail notifying them of the hearing.

Ord then suggested that since not every adjoining property owner who lives within 200 feet of the business were notified of the hearing, it should not proceed.

An attorney representing AMPAL then asked for, and was granted, a waiver requirement under the municipalities planning code that the hearing be held within 60 days of the initial date of filing.

The township zoning ordinance limits the height of structures in the Industrial Zoning District to 40 feet. The company, as per its proposal, originally said it wanted to erect blending/screening towers that would stand about 51 feet high.

In his rejection letter, dated Dec. 10, 2010, township zoning officer Duane Dellecker said AMPAL's request for a variance was denied because AMPAL's property is situated in an Industrial Zoning District; the blending/screening towers proposed to be erected would stand about 51 feet in height, whereby towers at that height currently exist on the property; and section 494 of the zoning ordinance limits the height of buildings to 40 feet.

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