Building up the business community
A lengthy project came to a successful conclusion on August 19, when the township supervisors gave final approval to Ordinance 97, which updated several areas of Lackawaxen’s zoning ordinance.
“We’ve been wanting to do this for several years,” said supervisors’ chair Brian Stuart, who said that completion of a new comprehensive plan and sorting out impacts on local business had “taken a while.”
A larger-than-usual audience of about 50 people was on hand for the final public hearing, at which solicitor Anthony Waldron outlined the changes.
Two map districts changed: the commercial corridor, Neighborhood Development (ND) district along Route 6 was expanded to include the highway’s full length on Lackawaxen’s southern border, and expanded in width from 500 feet to 1,000 feet along Route 6 and on Route 434 to its Route 590 junction in Greeley. The township’s RV zone, for recreational vehicle trailers, was moved from the southwestern edge of Route 6, where Blue Heron Woods property development has changed use since the old map was drawn, to an existing trailer park, Laurel Woods, off Route 434 in Greeley.
The setback for commercial stable buildings was halved to 100 feet from adjoining properties and 75 feet from highways.
Recreational-seasonal cabins, exempted from some regulation by state law, must now have their recreational status recorded with property deeds to prevent resale as full-time residential structures. At the same time, the update also eliminated state building code minimum size requirements on residential structures.
Additionally, the update now provides that small engine repair businesses may be located in both the ND and Rural Use (RU) districts.
The new zoning map was to be published on the township website, but as of this writing, the new map has not yet appeared.
Waldron said a zoning change does not mean an assessment value change. While a future re-assessment could change property values, Waldron said “Pike County has gone 20 or 21 years without a re-assessment and has no plans to do so.”
He further assured the audience that the expansion of commercial districts does not automatically mean that any commercial use will win approval. “Just because it’s allowed, doesn’t mean it gets approved,” he said.
Changes of use will require a public hearing and approval of a conditional use.
In two zoning actions, the supervisors approved Ordinance 99, which would allow the township to decide procedures for the use of existing commercial buildings that have not been certified as commercial by the state; and Ordinance 100, which enables the township to prosecute improper disposal of wastes on private or public property.
The supervisors also gave final approval to a conditional zoning use that would allow commercial stable owner Mike Mancino to make arrangements with PennDOT to allow horseback riders to cross Route 590 to property Mancino owns on the other side of the highway.
In other business, the supervisors finalized a state grant application for $48,000 to fund construction of a township highway salt shed.
They also approved a new five-year franchise agreement with cable television provider Blue Ridge Communications. The franchise provided $57,000 to township revenues last year.