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Manor officials consider rezoning proposal

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By Chris Foreman
Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 9:01 p.m.
 

Several Manor properties might be rezoned from an agricultural classification to residential to limit the opportunities for drilling near them.

Manor Council has scheduled a public hearing for Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. to review proposed amendments to the borough gas-and-oil drilling ordinance and the zoning map.

Council voted 4-1 last week to accept a recommended draft from the borough planning commission.

Among the properties that would be rezoned are:

• All phases of the Woods at Brandywine development;

• All approved phases of the Crimson Pointe development;

• Several lots along Rowe Road that have homes.

Some council members said the rezoning would protect homeowners from drilling.

The ordinance council passed in July 2010 allows drilling in agricultural and light-industrial districts but prohibits it in residential areas and the central business district.

The regulation of drilling is before the state courts now.

The Commonwealth Court last summer struck down the portion of a new state law that would have enabled companies to drill in all neighborhoods as long as certain buffers are in place.

Under that law, drillers would not have been required to go through a public hearing before operating in an agricultural or industrial district.

State agencies have appealed the ruling to the state Supreme Court.

Despite the uncertainty involving the state law, Manor must amend its ordinance by mid-December to be eligible for annual state impact fees related to drilling. Earlier this year, the county planning department projected that Manor would receive $7,375.

Council's vote went one step further than the recommendation from the planning commission, which didn't include undeveloped lots from the fifth phase of the Brandywine housing plan in the proposal.

Brian Woy, Christine Marchand, Dawn Lynn and Bruce Hartman voted to include the undeveloped lots, with Jeff Herman opposed. Chuck Konkus and Jim Morgan were absent.

Lynn said several Brandywine residents have said they like the country nature of the neighborhood and don't want drilling to disturb that.

Some undeveloped lots are scheduled for a sheriff's sale and could attract companies that want to install a compressor station or drill a well, officials said.

“That's the best course of action if residents don't want wells up there,” Hartman said of expanding the rezoning to the entire neighborhood.

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or cforeman@tribweb.com.

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