Sunday, April 02, 2006

Joint Meeting - 3/28/06 - Amended

These notes have been amended after hearing from one of our readers who was at the meeting. Many thanks. We do try to get it right.

The joint workshop session on the 28th was as interesting as we expected. Joe Nixon’s March 29th Morning Call article described the main issues discussed by the Planners and the Supervisors. Please read it for more information.

Charlie Schmehl from Urban Research and Development Corp. (URDC) was there by invitation to detail the issues raised at the public hearings for the new zoning ordinance. Some will become amendments to the new ordinance, some will not. Discussed were:

  • Clarification that a 4 acre lot in the FP may be subdivided into 3 acre and 1 acre lots with the condition that the 3 acre parcel carries an easement to prevent future subdivision.
  • Making a landscaped berm a requirement between residential and commercial uses in all zoning districts.
  • Changing the setback for mobile home parks to 100 feet from land occupied by an industrial use.
  • Creating an age restricted mobile home park density bonus.
  • Relieving Hanson Aggregates (1900 block of Sullivan Trail – in the TC district) from setback requirements.
  • Changing Braden Airport from a non-conforming use to an allowed use in the REM district – decided against it.
  • More clarification on the definition of and regulations for neon signs.
  • Altering the time between electronic sign message changes from once every 6 seconds to once per minute. Time and temperature signs will be exempt.
  • Requiring the planting of trees (by developers) in open space to create wooded areas.
  • Township purchase of open space (from developers). Currently there is nothing to stop developers from selling their open space to “slum landlords” (Solicitor Karl Kline).

The above items will be finalized as amendments (or not) at the next workshop session on April 25th.

Kline noted during the the billboard discussion (allowed only in the EC district) that there is a rumor that the owners of the (former) billboard near Lockwood Congress and Tastebudz is unhappy that his billboard had to come down and wants to put one up across the street.

It was decided that the SALDO review will be done in the conventional way (at PC workshops) and will take 3 to 4 meetings. Engineer Fred Hay volunteered to take care of the technical end of the review – which will begin at the April 25 workshop session.

The Comprehensive Plan has not been revised in 10 years. Two of the Planners thought that it should have been done before the Zoning Ordinance re-write. It will undergo an update as it is the beginning of the process to fine tune the other two documents - the SALDO (Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance) and the Zoning Ordinance.

Planner Erik Chuss, who was unable to be at the workshop, sent a letter to Tamborrino expressing his opinion of the form the process should take. Chuss felt that it should be done in groups with citizen participation. The groups would be composed of representatives of all folks with an interest in Forks - solicited to participate would be farmers, residents, the Athletic Association, the Recreation Board, businesses, and (as suggested by Supervisor David Hoff) homeowners associations. Tamborrino (and others) felt that it should be done at monthly public workshops with one large meeting at the end for citizen input – like the Zoning Ordinance was done. There will be public hearings by both the PC and the Board before the updated plan is approved.

The topics that will be covered in the Comprehensive Plan workshops include traffic, roads, trails (recreation plan), and preservation in the the FP (Farmland Protection), the RC (Riverfront Conservation), and the HC (Heritage Corridor) districts.

Our objective is to relate what is experienced at Forks Township meetings for those who cannot attend. We are attempting to be as factual as we can. If we make a mistake, tell us via email or COMMENT here in the blog, and we will do our best to correct it. We are not perfect. We want to get it right.

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