Progress made toward allowing events centers

Shawn Hardy news@echo-pilot.com

An amendment to the Borough of Greencastle's zoning code is getting closer that could offer a way for the Rescue Hose Co. to sell its Special Events Center.

The proposed change would make way for a multi-purpose events center to be located in an R-2 general residential zone as a conditional use. A public conditional hearing would have to be held before borough council for any proposal at which time council could add restrictions.

The ordinance applies to the entire R-2 zone, not just the Rescue Hose Co. Special Events Center at 407 S. Washington St. However, the fire company's plans to sell the property to Blue Heron Events announced more than a year ago have prompted the measure.

The sale has been stymied because an events center is not currently a permitted use at that location. No one is sure how or why it was allowed to be built there in 1982 and paperwork from the time cannot be found.

There has been a lot of discussion and proposed solutions, but both the planning commission and borough council are now advancing the conditional use idea.

At its April 1 meeting, borough council viewed conditions recommended as part of the ordinance by the planning commission, such as lot size, hours of operation, lighting and screening. Council members thought those specifics were too restrictive and were better dealt with on an individual basis at a conditional use hearing.

The proposal was reviewed Monday, April 8, by the planners who agreed, except for the minimum lot size. They decided to recommend the ordinance to borough council for approval with a 2-acre minimum.

Tim Myers, Rescue Hose Co. trustee, said he is optimistic the process and the sale of the Special Events Center will move forward.