Bald Eagle

College Township sets hearing for potential zoning amendments

The Township Council set a public hearing date for March 19 for multiple proposed amendments to different zoning districts in the township, primarily commercial and industrial.

According to senior planner Mark Holdren and council President Eric Bernier, discussion into amending the zoning ordinances came when the Veterans Affairs clinic was proposed along East College Avenue. The industrial ordinance was changed at the time to allow the VA to build a clinic at that location.

“The good thing that came about it was that it forced us to re-evaluate the industrial districts as industrial uses have evolved,” Bernier said.

With the proposed changes, the VA will no longer be in a conforming use for that district, township Manager Adam Brumbaugh said, but use of the clinic would not have to change.

“The fact that use is not conforming has certain limitations if they seek to expand,” Brumbaugh said, saying the clinic can’t expand beyond 50 percent of its current square footage.

Holdren highlighted some of the proposed amendment changes for the council.

Heavy manufacturing — smokestack-type operations — would still be permitted within the industrial zones, he said, but now had additional setback to make sure uses were far enough away from adjoining properties.

The sale of motor vehicle fuel would be allowed in industrial districts, he said, with the stipulation that no retail operation be associated with it. This was added due to the proposed compressed natural gas pump set to be installed at the Centre County Refuse and Recycling Authority.

Lot sizes in the planned research and business park districts — the zone containing Innovation Boulevard — have been reduced from 50 acres to 35 acres, he said. This conforms to the typical lot size for this type of district.

Fast food restaurants, previously prohibited in village districts in the past, will be allowed, he said. However, no drive-thru will be permitted.

The area surrounding Lemont comprises a village district.

The council has to seek input from Patton Township before making any zoning changes, Bernier said.

The township made an intermunicipal agreement in 2003, he said. The idea behind it was to ensure each municipality gets a fair share of particular land uses. Because College Township was deemed to have a large amount of less-than-desireable family land, and Patton had limited land for industrial zoning, the municipalites agreed to come together.

Anytime a municipality wants to make a change to the affected districts, the other municipality has to weigh in, he said.

Bernier thanked the Planning Commission and staff for the large amount of discussion that had gone into the amendment preparation.