East Penn Press

Sunday, June 16, 2019

LOWER MACUNGIE TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION

Thursday, April 11, 2019 by kevin jones Special to The Press in Local News

Zoning ordinance submitted for approval

The March 27 meeting of the Lower Macungie Township Planning Commission began with a discussion of changes made to the use chart in the township’s revised zoning ordinance.

There was a discussion about clubs and lodges. Co-Chairman Maury Robert questioned if the township needed any more clubs and lodges. The discussion was if the clubs should remain in the urban zone or be allowed in certain residential zones. It was decided to keep clubs and lodges in the urban zone.

There was a suggestion about the possibility of expanding the medical marijuana use, but the planning commission decided the township already has generous ordinances regarding medical marijuana.

There was also a discussion about moving the Bieber Bus Terminal property into the Wescosville commercial zone. A possible issue with this is the property is separated from the rest of the Wescosville commercial zone with minimal walkability.

If the property had a highway use, significant buffering would be required to eliminate sound and light pollution. The planning commission decided the property would remain highway commercial.

The planning commission also looked over some visuals that would be included in the zoning ordinance. They looked at many generic residential lot layouts to show setback requirements for different types of designs and buffers.

Robert asked about the required setbacks for garage doors. Planning Director Sara Pandl felt garages should either be set back from the rest of the house or have side entry. When it came to shopping centers, Robert questioned if the walking areas should be wider than the required five feet.

The discussion then turned to buffer screens. The planning commission felt the images used were not very good and the buffer needed to be denser.

Flood plains were also discussed during the meeting. The planning commission looked at the 500-year flood plain and Robert felt they should add a 20-foot maintenance easement for the township’s use.

The planning commission also looked at designs for commercial parking lots. These showed walkways for pedestrians and shade trees, one of which is required for every five parking spots. The design also showed a street wall and entrance with a monument sign.

There was also discussion about open space development. A decision was made flood plains, wetlands and utility right of ways would not count toward lot sizes. The document outlined a four step design process. It was questioned if open space development should be submitted alongside the zoning ordinance.

A suggestion was made the zoning ordinance be submitted to the board of commissioners for review without advertising it so the planning commission can submit the open space development plan and Apendix A at the April 9 meeting and advertise all three together.

Robert made a motion to submit the zoning ordinance to the board of commissioners without advertising and it was approved unanimously.

After some discussion, a second motion was made to submit the zoning ordinance, alongside the open space development plan and Appendix A, conditional upon planning commission review at the April 2 meeting, to the board of commissioners and advertise all three items. The motion was approved.

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 township municipal building.