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No zoning changes for Connellsville's Wills Road area

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By Rachel Basinger
Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, 8:27 p.m.
 

Connellsville businessman Aaron Zolbrod questioned City Council this week about rumored zoning changes in the Wills Road area.

Zolbrod was referring to a Facebook posting that stated that council was considering rezoning certain areas of the city, particularly the Wills Road area, to allow triplexes and quadplexes.

Councilman Tom Karpiak saw the posting he said was listed on the Connellsville Recreation Board's page. He said the posting was false.

The Wills Road area is zoned R-1, which allows for single-family dwellings as well as duplexes.

“The premise of the whole idea is not true,” said Karpiak.

Mayor Charles Matthews concurred. He said there were no plans to change the zoning in the Wills Road area.

The city passed a zoning ordinance last year, and about a month ago discussions about some possible changes arose.

“There was a suggestion to make the R-1 zone for strictly single-family dwellings,” Matthews said. “But there are several areas in the city where there's a number of duplexes in R-1 districts.”

Council discussed the zoning issues with the planning commission and the zoning hearing board, said Matthews.

“The thought was if we were to zone duplexes out of R-1, we didn't think we would win if we were challenged in court because of the big number of duplexes already in other R-1 zones,” Matthews said. “We didn't feel we should take out the duplexes at this time. Whoever posted whatever they posted really jumped the gun.”

Resident Johanna Harden said the city should take duplexes out of the R-1 zones.

“Just because there's duplexes there now doesn't mean they need to grow,” Harden said. “Single-family homeownership has a number of benefits in the community.”

Some of those benefits include more money invested in home improvements and better SAT scores for students because they have a permanent home and are not moving from place to place.

“If you want to do some big improvements in this town, you should be going out and converting duplexes into single-family dwellings,” Harden said.

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.

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