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West Penn addresses most issues from public meeting on draft zoning ordinance

West Penn Township has addressed nearly all of the outstanding issues from last month’s public meeting on the draft zoning ordinance.

Supervisors last week said that Urban Research & Development Corporation asked the township’s planning commission to review and give their recommendations to the board.

The board approved the following planning commission recommendations:

• A draft water ordinance was sent to attorney Jordan Yeager’s firm to review. The firm will review the zoning ordinance and send it back to the township with any comments.

• One lot west of Fort Franklin Road south of Blue Mountain Drive, and another lot east of Fort Franklin Road west of Route 309 should remain the same and stay conservation.

• To connect the two areas of rural residential zoning along Mush Dahl Road in the vicinity of Chain Circle, to remain agricultural so that the rural residential zoning is continuous along the road.

• To provide a village center zoning district along Municipal Drive east to Robin Hill Lane remain rural residential along this part of Municipal Drive east of the township building.

• That golf courses be permitted by right in all zoning districts, and that a 20-acre minimum lot size apply in conservation, agricultural, agricultural conservation and rural residential districts.

• To allow customary accessory building without needing a principal building on lot, and that the accessory use definition be added to the definition of accessory building and to change the side and back setback of property line for a fence in highway commercial to 5 feet instead of 15 feet.

• Only one recommendation, that the south side of Route 895 east of Bailey Building Supply, where there is a campground, should be added as a Village Center, which allows a variety of less intensive types of commercial businesses, is currently on hold.

Resident Todd Deem said he previously presented a signed petition to the township from residents on Summer Valley Road on Route 895.

“I just feel like I’m purposely being skipped over,” Deem said. “Why wouldn’t you do highway commercial? Property owners are requesting it be highway commercial.”

Board Chairman Tony Prudenti said he had no problem sending it back to the planning commission.

Supervisor Tim Houser said he agreed with Prudenti because the planning commission didn’t have the petition.

“Certain people are not going to be able to do certain things with their property,” Houser said. “Some people will like the zoning, some people will not like the zoning.”

The board then rescinded a prior motion from earlier in the meeting to adopt the planning commission’s recommendation for that area.

Afterward, it agreed to send it back to the planning commission per Deem’s request and the petition from property owners on 895 whom he alluded to.

Last month, a draft of the water extraction section of the zoning ordinance was unveiled at the township’s planning commission meeting.

Several residents commented on the zoning ordinance at that time, and were told their comments would be taken under consideration.

Township solicitor Paul J. Datte said that groundwater or spring water withdrawal of more than 10,000 gallons per day will be added as a use permitted by special exception in all zoning districts.

In addition, he said that groundwater or spring water withdrawal of more than 10,000 gallons per day for off-site use will be limited to a use permitted by special exception in the Extractive Industrial District.

The West Penn Township groundwater or spring water withdrawal zoning provisions include two sections, 31 A and B.

Another public hearing, possibly two, will eventually be held to comment on the entire zoning ordinance.