JACKSON TWP — While some residents remain skeptical about the new, growth-oriented zoning ordinance enacted on Oct. 11, supervisors say it is necessary to move the municipality forward.
About 20 people attended the public hearing that preceded the township meeting, and many expressed concern about promoting development in the traditionally rural township.
Supervisors Chairman Jay Grinnell explained that while the township has experienced little growth during the past several years, expenses have risen. He said roads are in bad shape, public works employees plow snow with antiquated trucks, the township building is deteriorating and needs a new roof, and the police department is housed in a rented building that is in poor condition.
Grinnell said the budget has shown a deficit for the last few years, with no revenue relief in sight. He said township leaders cut and rearranged personnel to tighten expenses, and still face financial difficulties.
Grinnell said the only two choices to alleviate the township’s fiscal problems were a dramatic tax increase or a push toward development and the tax revenue it brings.
“The township was going backward fast,” Grinnell said. “The majority of people in this township have been thanking us and are happy to have growth.”
Following the public hearing, the supervisors voted unanimously to approve the new zoning ordinance.
The township’s eight zoning districts will be changed to three districts and two overlay districts.
The three new zoning districts and two overlay districts are:
• R — Residential
• CC — Commercial Corridor
• LI — Large-Scale Industrial
• TO — Transitional Overlay
• AO — Airport Overlay
The residential district is for current and expected development that includes traditional subdivisions and single-family homes and planned residential and traditional neighborhood developments.
The district’s regulations also include agricultural uses and some small businesses.
The commercial corridor district includes properties at the intersections of state roads or along major traffic routes to be developed for commercial use and includes retail centers, offices and similar developments.
The large-scale industrial district is for industries the intensity of which require major street infrastructure and concentration and buffering from residential, mixed use and commercial neighborhoods and centers.
The transitional overlay district is to provide nonresidential and mixed-use options in and adjoining neighborhoods of single-family homes which are on or near roads where commercial growth is expected.
The district strives to protect single-family homes while permitting nonresidential uses, according to township officials.
It also is designed to provide development options to properties near the Interstate 79 corridor where limited access does not permit large commercial development, but does not logically permit the construction of homes.
The airport overlay district identifies those areas in the Zelienople Municipal Airport overlay area and restricts the heights of buildings.
The entire ordinance and its regulations and the new zoning map are on the township website at: www.jacksontwpbutler.org.