Antrim Township ordinance review needs more review

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot

The work of the Antrim Township Ordinance Review Committee came to a halt Tuesday night, after zoning officer Sylvia House presented some of the last recommended changes to the board of supervisors. Aware that there was some opposition to the new rules, she asked for direction going forward.

“We are stuck,” House said. “We were told to deregulate and expand the use of properties. We’ve been addressing this for years. This ordinance was written so everyone could make the most money on their property.”

Supervisors James Byers, John Alleman, Pat Heraty and Fred Young III saw her presentation at the July 22 worksession. Rick Baer was absent.

The committee began meeting twice a month in February 2012. Other members were Joel Wenger and Dick Walck, Antrim Township Planning Commission; Sherri Clayton, Franklin County Planning Commission; Lynda Beckwith, Antrim assistant zoning officer; and Mike Hicks, Frederick Seibert and Associates. Heraty and Baer were also appointed to represent the supervisors. The group reworked the zoning and land development chapters, and created an official map.

The revisions had been reviewed by Antrim solicitor John Lisko and Planning Commission solicitor Deb Hoff, House said. The committee also posted its progress on updating the Code of the Township of Antrim on the municipal website. It was ready to meet one last time for a final section, then advertise for a hearing prior to adoption.

Byers expressed concern that Antrim was giving property owners, especially farmers, a blank check on running businesses in the rural areas, which had a negative effect on neighbors.

Young asked, “How industrialized do we want the agricultural zone to get?”

House replied that the discussed setbacks affected every zoning district, and in many cases were more restrictive than the current ordinance.

“You can’t make all people happy,” she said. “I would like to take that element out.”

The board decided to reread the ordinance and return at a later meeting with a recommendation on the committee’s next step. House later said she doubted the project would conclude in 2014, as had originally been the hope.

Regular meeting

The board approved a Letter of Engagement with Portnoff Law Associates, Norristown, the firm that will collect on delinquent sewer bills. Antrim administrator Brad Graham said there were still some concerns on how staff would work with the company, but the township had ultimate control on which accounts were turned over. An ordinance affecting the collection policy was authorized for advertisement.

Roadmaster Mike Condo explained how PennDOT, Quincy Township and Antrim planned to cooperate in the paving of Murray Road. The short road intersected Hades Church Road in Antrim. The three entities were participating in the Agility Program, enacted in 2008 due to the recession. It allowed agencies to share manpower and equipment, with the contributions balancing out over one or more projects.

“It really is a win-win,” said Condo. “It saves taxpayer money.”