East Penn Press

Thursday, November 15, 2018

LOWER MACUNGIE TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION

Thursday, September 13, 2018 by KEVIN JONES Special to The Press in Local News

Wescosville village and highway commercial zones discussed

The Sept. 4 workshop meeting of the Lower Macungie Planning Commission focused primarily on the Wescosville Village Zone.

In the village of Wescosville, the planning commission wanted to encourage the reuse of the existing structures. There was a discussion about the idea of temporary parking.

It was suggested to allow properties to build their parking lots up to the property lines. This would allow neighboring properties to share their parking lots with each other. The planning commission also wanted neighboring parking lots to be connected so that people would not have to go back on the main road to move from one parking lot to the other.

The planning commission used Google Street View to look at the properties along Hamilton Boulevard in the Wescosville commercial zone. There was discussion about making the area more walkable.

The planning commission was able to study the contour of the land and looked into putting in a sidewalk to make the area more walkable.

There was a discussion about allowing apartments above commercial buildings. Since many of the buildings on Hamilton Boulevard do not face the road, it was questioned how it is ensured the front of the property has a good appearance.

The planning commission decided to remove clubs, lodges and social buildings from the Wescosville village zone. There was a discussion about removing nursing homes and continuing care facilities from the zone. It was questioned how a personal care facility, which already exists in the zone, differs from the other types of care.

The highway commercial zone was also discussed during the meeting. The zone consists of the area adjacent to the bypass and includes Ciocca Subaru and the Bieber bus terminal. The zone would focus on car dealerships, drive-thrus, car services and gas stations and convenience stores. The planning commission wanted the zone to be automotive minded.

Another talking point was the combination of gas stations and convenience stores. The question was raised if a gas station should be used as an accessory use. Electric charging stations were also discussed.

The planners were looking into making sure gas stations have generators to keep fuel functioning during a power outage. This would be required for new facilities.

Another zone discussed during the meeting was the general commercial zone. The planners said funeral homes and mortuaries would be allowed in the zone.

There was also talk about having drive-thrus as an accessory use.

It was questioned if automotive sales should be excluded from the general commercial district. The planners want to work on the purpose for the highway commercial and general commercial districts.

The next Lower Macungie Township Planning Commission meeting will be Sept. 18. Usually the planning commission meets the second Tuesday of every month and occasionally there is a workshop meeting on the third Tuesday of the month. Meetings take place 7 p.m. and are in the Lower Macungie Township municipal building, 3400 Brookside Road.