Peters Township progressing with zoning changes
The public will have more opportunities for input regarding zoning changes in Peters Township.
According to township manager Paul Lauer, a hearing could be scheduled for late April or early May to gain comment on proposed regulations for three sets of new zoning districts.
A March 6 workshop session for township council and planning commission members addressed two of them: Mixed-Use Activity Center, targeted for five separate areas of varying size, and the Villages, pertaining to the Hackett-Venetia area. A previous session focused on McMurray Town Center, in the vicinity of East McMurray and Valley Brook roads.
The workshops have helped provided township administrators with further direction in developing the regulations, which govern development aspects including permitted uses, lot sizes, and building dimensions and placement.
In the area along Venetia Road to the east of Bebout Road to the township line, three components of the Villages are proposed:
• Village Residential (VR), roughly corresponding with Hackett’s current R-3 residential zoning
• Village Commercial (VC), planned for properties south of Venetia Road
• Village Mixed-Use (VM), north of Venetia Road, which has the goal of offering “a diversity of moderate-density housing types, commercial-retail and mixed uses, as well as public-common spaces,” according to a draft of the new regulations
“In Venetia, the zoning is geared around maintaining the character of the area,” township planning director Ed Zuk said. “You see homes close together and close to the road. You don’t see big, tall buildings in the Venetia-Hackett area.
Some changes are recommended, though.
“Attached townhomes would be a use that we are introducing into the Hackett area,” Zuk said, explaining that such a permitted use could provide opportunities for investment and reinvestment. “Take some of those existing homes that are dilapidated along Venetia Road and off some of the side streets, and allow for up to a six-unit townhouse building.”
Although the draft calls for up to 24 units in multifamily residential buildings in VC and VM, the maximum could be lowered after some officials expressed concern about so many dwellings fitting on a single lot.
As proposed, Mixed-Use Activity Center zoning would apply to five areas of the township, the largest of which would be along Route 19 southwest from McDowell Lane, with a unique designation as MA-1. Smaller areas, designated MA-2, are located at:
• East McMurray Road near Peters Township High School
• Hidden Valley Road, to the west of two restaurants along Route 19
• The intersection of East McMurray and Thompsonville roads
• Six vacant parcels to the north of the Bebout-Valley Brook Road intersection
A zoning change from the latter drew some objections, including from Frank Arcuri, council chairman.
“It’s already a traffic nightmare down there,” he said.
During a discussion of permitted uses, a consensus agreed that the presence of bars and nightclubs should be allowed in the MA-1 district, but not MA-2. Other uses in the former but not the latter include communication facility, conference training center, funeral home, pharmacy, commercial school, hospital and hotel/motel.
Proposed is a maximum for buildings of four stories in MA-1 and two stories in MA-2.