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Muncy Business District Redefined

By Staff | Feb 20, 2009

MUNCY – A section of Muncy Borough’s downtown center may lose its High Density Residential District status.

Kathie Hunter, zoning advisory team consultant, discussed the proposed changes Thursday night during a borough council meeting.

A May 6, 2008, public hearing drew about 200 residents, she said. Concerns heard then are important to the plan.

The proposed changes affect a portion of the downtown’s center. Shaped like a square with its southwestern corner cut out, with High Street as its northern border, McCarty Alley to the east, Penn Street to the south and Sherman Street to the west, the section is proposed to become a Low Density Residential District.

“The only area being proposed for change are these properties,” Hunter said. She said there are about 25 properties in the section, with some of the properties owned by the same people.

Only a handful of residents heard Hunter’s presentation, but the community will get another chance to voice their views. A public hearing is proposed for March 30.

Hunter produced a second draft of the borough zoning ordinance. Council also is considering this draft.

Two of the items in the ordinance were drafted due to many public comments, she said. This includes administrative review and the historic commission review process.

All provisions set forth in the ordinance regarding the issuance of zoning permits, including exemptions, will apply to proposals for the erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration or restoration of a building, structure or land in a Historic Preservation District.

The zoning officer will review the recommendations of the Historic Commission and will take action upon the permit application in accordance with the provisions of the ordinance and the state municipalities planning code, within the time limits set forth in the ordinance.

Further clarification for inspections guidelines may be needed.

The ordinance states that the zoning officer will have the authority to enter any building, structure, premises or development in any zoning district, upon presentation of proper credentials and with proper notification of the property owner, to enforce the provisions of the ordinance.

Councilwoman Linda Stein said that definition of “proper notification” is needed.

How long this proper notification should be also needs to be determined, according to borough solicitor Sarah Steinbacher.

“To me, 24 hours is enough,” Steinbacher said. “Other people may want 72 hours or a week.”

Steinbacher said the zoning ordinances of other municipalities should be reviewed to help determine what time element would be best.

In other business, council approved the expansion of the borough municipal authority from five members to seven members.

Council also approved the appointments of Harold Davis and Charles Leonard to the municipal authority.