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Township officials to meet about zoning rules

| Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, 9:02 p.m.

The North Huntingdon commissioners will collaborate with the planning commission about the zoning ordinance updates.

The boards plan to hold a joint meeting on Feb. 14, at 6 p.m., prior to the commissioners' regularly scheduled voting meeting.

Andrew Blenko, township planner and engineer, said there are several portions of the new ordinances where planning commission cannot reach a consensus, including the boundaries of the commercial corridor along Route 30 in the western portion of the township.

“It appears when the zoning map was drawn in 1991, a somewhat arbitrary 325- to 350-foot corridor was drawn along the edges of Route 30,” Blenko said. “Sometimes that corresponded with property lines, but most of the time it didn't.”

Although he didn't have an exact number, Blenko said “dozens” of properties along western Route 30 feature up to 350 feet of commercial land, while the remainder is zoned residential, which could hinder commercial development.

Many commercial developments far exceed the 350-foot zone, often leading to confusion amongst developers and township staff, Blenko said.

Township requirements, such as a sound and lighting buffer zone between commercial and residential zones, parking, drainage, fire lanes and landscaping also help reduce the development possibilities for the properties, Blenko said.

The planning commission could not decide whether to change or leave the commercial zone along western Route 30, and hopes for guidance from the commissioners, Blenko said.

The area, which is not as densely developed as the eastern portion of Route 30, near the Pennsylvania Turnpike, could become prime real estate after the redevelopment of Norwin Towne Square, Blenko added.

Officials began reviewing and revising township's zoning ordinances about a year ago, with the help of consultants from Wexford-based Delta Development Group, Blenko said.

The revisions mark the first update to the ordinances since 1991, Blenko said.

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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