East Penn Press

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

lmt PLANNING COMMISSION

Thursday, March 29, 2018 by KEVIN JONES Special to The Press in Local News

Zoning ordinances discussed

The March 20 workshop meeting of the Lower Macungie Planning Commission involved the discussion of residential zones as a part of the zoning ordinances. In addition to the planning commissioners, Adam Supplee, a representative from Alta Planning and Design also took part in the meeting.

During the meeting, the planning commission looked at accessory uses and decided which they wanted to allow in all zones. Planning commission Chairman Maury Robert explained he wanted more clarity when it comes to which uses are permitted.

“It is not clear what uses we permit in each part of the ordinance,” Robert said.

Also discussed was overlay districts, particularly pertaining to The Hills at Lockridge. The planning commission was in agreement The Hills at Lockridge should be its own base zone instead of an overlay district.

Nonprofit recreation was another topic discussed during the meeting. There was discussion about limiting nonprofit recreation to camping grounds and pools as well as tennis courts, playing fields, picnic grounds and fishing.

Accessory residential dwellings were also discussed during the meeting. These dwellings are typically used for people who want to have their parents live on their property. There were questions whether it should be considered an accessory use or a special exception since it is currently listed under both.

Robert argued in favor of accessory residential dwellings falling under the special exception use.

The planning commission also took a look at lot dimensions. The commission said they wanted more information about impervious coverage in the zoning ordinance.

There was a discussion about changing the size of side yards. There was a decision that no previous impervious coverage minimums will be added to each zone and each use.

The planning commission talked about removing lodges and social clubs from semi-rural, suburban and urban zones. There were questions about the district on South Mountain and questioned if it should have its own district. The conversation then turned to land near South Mountain that could be vulnerable for development in the future.

Another topic raised at the meeting was general regulations for residential districts. A decision was made chimneys could extend two feet into the building restriction lines. There was also a conversation about incentivizing front porches extending into the front yard about four feet.

Director of Planning Sarah Pandl spoke in favor of extending front porches. She explained that larger porches would allow a transition between the public and private state as well as it being aesthetically pleasing.

There was a conversation about whether commercial and residential uses should be allowed on the same property. A suggestion was made to allow more than one use on property in non-residential zones.

The next meeting of the Lower Macungie Township Planning Commission will be April 3. The planning commission meets the second Tuesday of the month. In April there will be two workshop meetings – April 3 and 17 where the zoning ordinances will be discussed in addition to the regular April 10 meeting. Meetings are held 7 p.m. in the Lower Macungie Township building, 3400 Brookside Road.