Unity Township is considering changes to its zoning ordinance to support development in the vicinity of Arnold Palmer Regional Airport and to address residential properties where “short-term rentals” are offered.
The supervisors on Thursday authorized the township’s planning and zoning staff and solicitor Gary Falatovich to initiate the months-long process of reviewing and amending the ordinance.
Falatovich said the airport, which is bordered by routes 30 and 981, sits next to “a mix of residential and commercial uses. We’re considering some potential amendments to facilitate a broader range of development possibilities” — including possible zoning re-classifications for some properties.
Located along Route 981 a short distance southwest of the airport, the Westmoreland County Airpark industrial park has 50 percent of its acreage sold or optioned, according to the site’s website. According to the township zoning map, other properties bordering the airport represent a patchwork of business, manufacturing, residential and agricultural classifications.
In another zoning issue, Falatovich said township officials want to be able to better identify short-term rental properties.
“We know that there are people out there who are engaging in these weekly, two-week rentals, bringing people in and out,” he said. “We want to make sure the township has a handle on where they are and make sure they are properly classified.”
He said it’s too early in the review process to say where such properties might fit into the township’s mix of zoning areas.
He also suggested “redefining some terms to make the zoning ordinance a little more readable.”
Falatovich said it might be as long as four months before a proposed zoning amendment would come before the supervisors.
He explained it first must be reviewed by the county planning office and the township planning commission and would be addressed at hearings where the public could comment.