East Penn Press

Monday, October 22, 2018

LOWER MACUNGIE TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION

Thursday, July 12, 2018 by KEVIN JONES Special to The Press in Local News

East Texas Village zoning discussed

The July 3 workshop meeting of the Lower Macungie Township Planning Commission focused on zoning ordinances in various districts.

In the rural district, there was a discussion about impervious coverage. It was felt for a place of worship a maximum impervious coverage of 25 percent seemed low because they tend to have large parking lots.

The discussion then turned to the possibility of separating churches and cemeteries. The planning commission concluded cemeteries should be a separate use than places of worship.

Lower Macungie Township Director of Planning/Community Development Sara Pandl felt impervious coverage limits should be increased to 15 percent for single family homes and 30 to 35 percent for places of worship.

Another district discussed during the meeting was the Hills at Lockridge district built as a suburban residential development. The planning commission talked about wanting to make the district more of a suburban district rather than a rural district.

During the meeting, the planning commissioners had a discussion about group homes and their transition from a retrofitted house to a village or more densely populated property.

The planning commission decided to remove animal husbandry as uses in the district.

It was also decided to remove nurseries, greenhouses and roadside stands as conditional uses.

In the semi-rural district, there was a discussion about removing commercial recreation as well as campgrounds as a conditional use.

Another item discussed was accessory dwelling units. It was decided accessory dwelling units should be kept as an accessory use and should be removed as a special exception use.

There was a discussion about having 20 percent impervious coverage for golf courses. It was argued this was excessive for a golf course.

The urban zone was also discussed during the meeting. Active adult residential communities were removed as a permitted use in the urban zone.

There was a discussion about con tinuing care facilities. These facilities were seen as a combination of independent living, personal care and skilled care facilities. The planning commission wanted to postpone the conversation to develop a better definition of a continuing care facility in contrast to a nursing home.

In the East Texas Village 1 district, there was a discussion about recreational agricultural activities. The second East Texas Village district primarily consists of the Smooth-On, Inc. and the parking lot for its employees. There was a discussion of adding a tunnel under Lower Macungie Road between the facility and its parking lot.

The planning commission decided to remove lodges and social clubs as well as museums and art galleries as uses in the second East Texas Village district. It was agreed to simplify the second East Texas Village district zoning ordinance and consider it again at a future meeting.

The Lower Macungie Township Planning Commission usually meets the second Tuesday of every month and occasionally there is a workshop meeting on the third Tuesday of the month. There will be a workshop meeting July 17. Meetings and workshops take place 7 p.m. in the Lower Macungie Township municipal building, 3400 Brookside Road.