River Rd. zoning change nearing

Residential development is one step closer to being permitted in industrial districts after a language change approved by the Warren County Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday night.

County Planner Dan Glotz said at the August meeting that prior to the revision of the zoning ordinance in 2008, residential development was permissible in districts zoned industrial. At the suggestion of a consultant, language allowing such development was removed during that 2008 revision. He informed the commission that a request had been made to build on property along River Road where the properties are, “residential in character but industrial in zoning.”

Because of the change in the language, no such development can occur.

Two options were presented to the commission on Tuesdy. One was rezoning River Road from the far western end near the self-storage units to Preston Road, with the exception of a few lots, to residential, except for what is currently undeveloped which would remain industrial. The other was to change the text of the ordinance that was removed in 2008.

Zoning Officer Aaron Kalkbrenner said he met with the Conewango Township supervisors and “their recommendation is to alter the text, not the (zoning) map.

“By nature it’s residential,” Glotz said. “It’s all houses down by the (Allegheny) River” while the portion of land north of the railroad grade is currently business. “What is there is grandfathered,” he said, “but does not allow” for additional residential development.

He explained that, if rezoned, he would recommend that the old sand and gravel plant, power plant and “other tracts of land that don’t have characteristics of residential” remain industrial.

Commission member Jeff Zariczny asked if changing the text would be countywide. Glotz said that it would allow residential development in any industrial area covered by the county zoning ordinance.

Part of the discussion centered around the fact that industrial does not mean today what it meant 30 years ago, typified by smoke stacks and other processes that might discourage close residential development.

Zariczny then made a motion to approve the text change, and the commission approved the motion unanimously.

According to Kalkbrenner, the commission’s decision will now go before the Warren County Commissioners for approval.