Salisbury Press

Tuesday, January 21, 2020


Wednesday, November 21, 2012 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Local News

Key new zoning provisions underscored

The consultant for the new Salisbury Township Zoning Ordinance recently briefed Planning Commission members on key changes.

Planners reviewed the 239-plus page document, copies of which were provided to the media, at the 1-1/2- hour Nov. 13 meeting in the township Municipal Building.

Planners are expected to continue their review of the ordinance at their next meeting 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11. A public hearing on the ordinance will be held. The hearing date has not been announced.

Charlie Schmehl, vice president, Urban Research and Development Corp., Bethlehem, consultant for the zoning update as well as the recently-approved township Comprehensive Plan update, read from the weighty document and offered reasons for the changes.

Cynthia Sopka, Salisbury Township Director of Planning and Zoning, also offered comments about the zoning update, as did the five planners present. Two planners were absent.

The Healthcare Overlay District at Lehigh Valley Hospital -- Cedar Crest was not reviewed.

"We were asked to hold off on that until the Lehigh Valley Hospital officials could meet with the neighbors," Schmehl said. That meeting was to have taken place during the past week.

As he began a review of the document, Schmehl said additional restrictions on building on or near flood plains have been included at Sopka's request.

"Since we've had two 40-year storms and a 50-year storm in two years, we're starting to realize a 100-year-storm isn't very accurate," Schmehl said.

Provisions have been added to ensure no buildings will be allowed to be built in a flood plain.

Placement of above-ground swimming pools will also not be allowed in a flood plain.

Schmehl noted suspected flood plain areas will be reviewed, even if the area is not designated a flood plain on the federal map.

Sopka said she has been called out frequently by residents over concerns about flooding. She said flooded basements are typical in the vicinity of Trout Creek on the township's east side.

"What you're saying," Schmehl responded, "is that in some places you shouldn't build basements."

"It makes sense," said Planner Glenn Miller. "Then, you avoid mold problems."

During a discussion on tree harvesting, Schmehl said the concern is not about the removal of one or two trees. The number of trees allowed to be cut will be predicated on acreage. Buffer zones for tree cutting are being established. A property survey will be required to prevent a neighbor's trees from being cut down accidentally.

A wind turbine will be required to be placed on about one acre. Noise restrictions will apply.

"We're trying to make it relatively easy to put up wind turbines because they are clean environmentally, but to do so with sensitively to neighbors so that they [the wind turbines] do not create a noise problem."

Schmehl suggested the township purchase a noise meter for routine inspections. For more complicated situations, an engineer qualified as a sound expert would be consulted.

Planners will also be updating the township Subdivision And Land Development Plan (SALDO).

"The SALDO is in good shape," Schmehl said.

Schmehl said he expected to have a final draft of the zoning ordinance by the end of the year, which is stipulated under the Lehigh County grant which is funding the update.

"We're close to it," Schmehl said. "The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission has to see the 'final' version."

Planners also reviewed the status of a KidsPeace request to adjust zoning for its Broadway campus, a review of Waldheim Park rezoning by planners' solicitor, Atty. John W. Ashley, and correspondence from Lower Macungie Township officials concerning SALDO review procedures.

The Zoning Ordinance draft contains:

1. General Provisions and Administration

2. Definitions

3. Districts

4. Additional Requirements of Specific Uses

5. Environmental Protection

6. Off-Street Parking and Loading

7. Signs

8. General Regulations

9. Planned Residential Development

10. Health Care Overlay District and Transitional Overlay District

11. Zoning Map Amendments

Appendix A. Airport Approach Regulations