East Penn Press

Sunday, June 24, 2018

LOWER MACUNGIE TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 by KEVIN JONES Special to The Press in Local News

Township discusses zoning ordinances

Lower Macungie Township Planning Commission’s workshop meeting Feb. 6 was not advertised, so it was not an official meeting and no votes were taken.

Commissioner Tim Pickle was introduced during the meeting. Pickle has lived in Lower Macungie Township for five years and previously lived in Easton. For seven years, Pickle worked for Apple and currently lives near Mack Trucks.

During the meeting, engineer John Rodgers discussed the current light ordinance. Rodgers explained drafts of residential lighting would not be addressed in the light ordinance. The planning commission is waiting for Keystone Consulting Engineers to review the lighting ordinance by the commission’s Feb. 13 meeting.

The current sign ordinance was also on the meeting’s agenda. There was a discussion about whether freestanding pylon signs should be allowed in the residential and East Texas zones. There was a consensus to not allow them. The idea of removing LED changeable signs from commercial districts was also a topic discussed. Director of Planning Sarah Pandl asked about the definitions of different types of signs.

The planning commission debated if a boarding or rooming house should be allowed as a use in the residential use chart. There were also questions whether golf courses should be listed as a conditional use.

Planning Commission Chair Maury Robert suggested clubs, lodges or social buildings should be a conditional use instead of a permitted use. Robert wanted to have the ability to consider the hours of operation, type of events and if the club sold alcohol before permitting the use.

Commissioner Ann Bartholomew suggested wind turbines, which are listed as an accessory use, require conditional use approval. She felt in the future there might be improved wind turbines that fit on residential properties.

Commissioner Al Perez wanted clarification regarding household pets. It was explained if a resident has a property of at least an acre they can have as many as four chickens.

The planning commission also discussed allowing the adaptive reuse residential use, where a resident could develop part of their property for a residential use. The commission looked into allowing light commercial use, such as an art studio. Heavy impact commercial use would require a conditional use approval.

There was a conversation about whether both building coverage and impervious coverage regulations were necessary as they can be very similar. The idea of eliminating building coverage regulations was discussed.

There were also questions about whether swimming pools should be allowed as a principle use depending on if it is a private, commercial or nonprofit entity.

The Lower Macungie Township Planning Commission will hold a workshop meeting Feb. 20 to discuss the zoning ordinances.

Commission meetings are on the second Tuesday of the month and occasionally there is a workshop meeting on the third Tuesday of the month. Meetings take place 7 p.m. in the Lower Macungie Township building, 3400 Brookside Road.