Antrim amends two zoning regulations with one vote

PAT FRIDGEN

Antrim Township supervisors got two for the price of one March 8, but a few decided later it wasn't worth it. Two hearings and one vote were held in the middle of the March 8 regular meeting, on a rezoning request by Atapco Properties, and on accomodating consumer fireworks sales.

Atapco vice president of development Pat Coggins explained the rationale for their request. The company wanted two parcels in Antrim Commons Business Park rezoned from Highway Commercial 3 to Industrial. By moving lines, there would be a clear split between the HC and industrial areas, and their different uses. Supervisor James Byers thought there was plenty of industrial space in the park and throughout Antrim Township. Sam Miller preferred zoning which yielded "more jobs per acre", which warehouses in an industrial zone did not create.

Coggins countered that HC uses such as offices and retail did not drive the economy. A larger industrial zone for Atapco would also complement adjacent Norfolk Southern's terminal. He added that five acres around Ebbert's Spring and another 10 acres of green space would be preserved in perpetuity.

To push his case, Coggins said Atapco was in discussion with one possible client and had sent requests for proposals to two others. If one deal went through, it would mean 400 jobs immediately and eventually 1,000 on the largest lot in the complex.

Zoning officer Sylvia House commented that often negotiations failed if a site wasn't shovel ready.

"We have to be concerned 30 to 50 years down the road," said Byers. "The interest in warehouses may not be present then."

The second ordinance change was to relax standards as they affected fireworks vendors, said House. The stores would only be allowed as a conditional use in HC zones. Adequate fire suppression was required and the setbacks were reduced to 50 feet. Any business also had to meet conditions set forth by the supervisors which were "reasonable".

Byers was opposed to the changes in the past and reiterated his position. One concern was that some HC areas of Antrim were close to buildings and homes. Miller said the ordinance was stringent because the residents had demanded it a few years ago.

House said the Planning Commission supported both changes to the ordinance.

On a Fred Young III/Rick Baer motion, with Curtis Myers in agreement, the amended ordinance was adopted. Byers and Miller voted against. Byers asked that separate issues be advertised separately in the future.

Solicitor John Lisko said they were advertised as one for economics. The legal ad in the newspaper cost $2,000, he said.

"We're trying to save the township money."