Penn Twp. officials considering development committee
Penn Township commissioners mean business.
Seeking to stimulate business growth in the township, commissioners are debating whether an economic-development commission would help to market the community and identify incentives or changes to infrastructure that might attract businesses to expand or relocate here.
The idea of a development-oriented commission comes at a time when township officials are preparing to update the zoning map and zoning ordinance so they will be more “user-friendly” for developers.
And it comes a month after commissioners revised the township manager's job description so that the person they hire next year to succeed the retiring Bruce Light will be in charge of designing a program marketing Penn Township to businesses and developers.
Commissioner Larry Harrison, who proposed the creation of a commission, said he thinks the township has been “more reactive than proactive” when it comes to attracting development. He said he'd like to change that.
Such a group could discuss with business owners what Penn Township officials would need to do to entice growth, particularly regarding infrastructure, he said.
“There's a lot of things that we need to get in place before we can truly sit down with someone who wants to come in and build a new plant, for example,” Harrison said.
His colleagues are split on the suggestion and chose not to take any immediate action after a discussion at the Dec. 11 meeting.
Commissioner Ed Sullivan, who helped craft the manager's revised duties with Harrison, said he thinks it's a good idea, but Commissioner Jeff Shula said he isn't sure a commission is necessary. Chuck Horvat, whose term expires at the end of the year, advised that commissioners wait until after commissioners pass the new zoning map.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Paul Wersing said that the liaison role already is part of the community-development director's duties. Besides, he said, the timing might be premature because the staff will be going through a transition with Light's departure.
Wersing also said he thought it would be hard to find volunteers who would want to stay on a development commission and suggested that the township might try to work closer with the Penn Township Business Association.
“I just think it's going to be too cumbersome,” he said.
Harrison said he can envision a committee that would “encompass a broad breadth of the community,” perhaps including a representative from Penn-Trafford School District, along with the township manager and business leaders.
He also said township officials need to talk more about the possibility of offering tax abatements to lure businesses. If municipality doesn't, he said, “you're shooting yourself in the foot.”
Township Solicitor Les Mlakar also said that an abatement program — along with less-restrictive zoning and good infrastructure — makes a community “friendly” to businesses and industries.
“Without a tax-abatement program, you're not going to draw anybody here because they can go other places and get that,” Mlakar said.
Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penn Middle School plans to upgrade tech at library
- Manor's budget does not include extra for VFD audit
- Manor officials approve land transfer; land bank to take over property
- Donations cover bills for cat shot with arrow in Penn Towship
- Penn Twp. police contract change provides for K9 unit
- Manor Council members officially renew PTARC membership