Northampton Press

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Planners review zoning map

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

At its May 21 meeting, Allen Township Planning Commission set about the task of getting the existing zoning map to work with the township’s comprehensive plan. There were a few relatively minor adjustments, but the main discussion centered on the Jaindl property, the site of the proposed warehouses along Seemsville Road.

The comprehensive plan calls for the land to be zoned rural, which would preclude warehouses. However, the existing Jaindl proposal would still be viable.

“The only reason we would want to change the designation is if the Jaindl plan fell through. It would then revert back to rural,” Chairman Eugene Clater said.

Gary Behler liked the idea of making the change to rural zoning, contending it adds a bit of security if the Jaindl deal should fall through and the township may not have enough time to make a zoning change if the situation changed.

The downside, as Solicitor Lincoln Treadwell explained, is that any development on the property would be grandfathered and could be increased by 50 percent. The threat to increase the warehouse density is somewhat offset by other land development restrictions.

There was general agreement among the commissioners that the project was going to move forward.

Under the present zoning, there are required buffer zones for properties adjacent to the Jaindl development. For Clater, the buffer zones were a more important attribute than a potential benefit for changing the designation to rural.

After some discussion, the commissioners agreed to recommend to the board of supervisors that the zoning for the Jaindl property remain as is.

Other areas changing did not require as much consideration.

The area across from the dog park is designated as neighborhood commercial. The quarry area would be designated R2 to be consistent with the surrounding areas. The quarry fill needs to settle for six or more years before any development could occur.

In other action, the planning commission recommended changing the minimum lot size from one acre to two acres in rural zoned areas. The recommendation also eliminates cluster housing developments in rural areas.

A public hearing on the proposal was planned for June 12.

The main reason for the change is to adapt to new requirements for on-site water and wastewater systems. There may be an option for a variance if public sewer is available, but there are no proposals to bring public sewer to any rural zoned parcels in the township.

The revised map with the planning commission’s recommendations will be forwarded to the supervisors for review.