Clinton Township Zoning Ordinances Strike the Offensive

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From left to right- Blane Martin, Supervisor, Mary Zacherl, Chairman, and James Halstead, Vice Chair (Photo by Kristen Wagner)

by Kristen Wagner

VALENCIA, Pa.Clinton Township’s Board of Supervisors has passed new Zoning Ordinances prohibiting the subdivision of parcels of land less than five acres each.

According to the zoning ordinance, the regulations within it are deemed necessary in order to encourage beneficial growth and protection of private property in the Township while keeping the density of development consistent with existing Township facilities.

The Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance states that there are seven main purposes for the new regulations. First, it provides the public with the assurance that necessary public facilities will be provided in the new subdivision and land development. Second, it provides the public with the assurance that lot sizes, land uses, streets and street extensions will be in conformance with the provisions of the Multimunicipal Comprehensive Plan for Clinton Township. Thirdly, the Ordinance guarantees the public that future plats, subdivision, or dedications will be improved with an established policy. Furthermore, the public will be assured that land subject to flooding will be set aside for uses that will not endanger life or property. The public will be provided with the assurance that soil, water and other natural resources will be protected. Conditions will be created favorable to the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the public. Lastly, the Clinton/Buffalo Townships Multimunicipal Comprehensive Plan will be implemented.

“I have great trust in the motives of these ordinances,” said James Halstead, Vice Chair of the Township. “Everyone has been focused on the well being of the Township. Any ordinance proposed will never please everyone. I think this is a good compromise,” he said.

As seen on the zoning map of Clinton Township, the new zoning laws divide the people of the Township into different land area districts. Dark green areas on the map depict conservation areas, which allow only one dwelling on each ten acre plot of land. Light green district areas allow one dwelling on each five acre plot of land.

“What does the Federal Enabling Act say about land made nearly useless by too many zoning rules that stymie normal growth,” questioned Len Haney, a Clinton Township resident.

Many of the attendees of the Township meeting questioned the ordinance and asked why it seemed like it was passed so quickly and without much discussion.

Planning commission meetings were held for several months where the supervisors spoke with the public and discussed the proposed ordinances. They were not so willing to discuss all of the circumstances now that the ordinance has been passed.

Some of the attendees that went to the planning commission meetings defended the doard. “Even at the planning commission meetings there was conflict, but compromises were agreed upon so that everyone could move forward,” said Judy Wagner, a Clinton Township resident.

The ordinances and the maps that accompany them were discussed and debated for over four years prior to their passing, explained Mary Zacherl, Chairman of the Township. The old Ordinance had problems that needed to be addressed, and those working with it were incorporating the solutions to those problems into the new one. “The last Ordinance needed tweaked as well, and we’ve added those solutions into this one,” she said.

Although there may be several small problems with the new Ordinance, the supervisors assured the residents attending the meeting that it could be changed and modified after 30 days. The board will continue to study and address the concerns of the public while the ordinance is underway.

For now, the new ordinance is in effect. “Today it was time to put-up or shut-up and just move on,” said Zacherl. “We can tweak little things later, but for now this needs to move on.”

In other action, the board:

  • Discussed the addition to the MEDRAD property. A 24,000 square foot building is to be added onto the property. BeamOne will occupy the building. The purpose of the building is to sterilize their products so that they don’t need to be shipped to Albany, NY for that process any longer. The BeamOne Company has a safe and clean process for sterilization available, and this will save them large amounts of money on trucking costs. The motion was approved for these actions to begin.
  • Reviewed the general fund budget and discussed the removal of dangerous trees around the area. Residents are asked to report unsafe or dangerous tree situations so that they can be taken care of on an individual basis.
  • Reviewed the Saxonburg Area Library ,inutes. Their letter indicated that they will have a $15,000 shortfall to their budget as a result of the adopted State budget. The public can support the library by making donations.
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