LT Residents Concerned Regarding Zoning Change

(Photo by Wendy Brion)

CLEARFIELD – The meeting room for the Lawrence Township Supervisors meeting was filled with an additional crowd of around 20 people Tuesday night.

Residents from the Goldenrod and Rivers Bend areas of the township gathered to express concerns regarding a recent zoning change near the Rivers Bend portion to Rural Agriculture from Rural Suburban.

The change was made as part of several zoning changes in the township to encourage development in the township.

The supervisors looked at areas that already had infrastructure, such as public water and or public sewer, and changed zoning in those areas.

The township is looking to encourage not only businesses to move into the area, but also to provide areas for housing for young professionals or those looking to downsize. RA zoning allows for single-family attached structures

Carolyn Johnson presented a petition to the supervisors signed by about 150 residents, saying they did not agree with the change. She said the residents want the township to change the zoning back to RS.

Resident Dwight Thurston added that he did some research as to what RA would allow, and that includes agriculture, two family dwellings, churches, schools, parks and playgrounds, kennels, veterinary offices, bed and breakfasts, contractor supply yards, fire companies, public utilities, sportsmen’s clubs, RV camping, assisted living and wineries.

Those gathered said they were unaware of the changes proposed, even though the township made efforts to notify residents prior to the public meetings as outlined in the Municipalities Code.

The property in question was posted as well as other properties under consideration and other postings. The proposal was also advertised in local media.

Residents noted they had to sign covenants regarding what they were and were not permitted to do on their properties before moving into the development. They raised concerns that the new zoning would result in properties being built that would not follow the same guidelines.

One concern was whether government subsidized housing, such as that at Lawrence Park Village, would be constructed, but supervisors reminded residents that those are controlled by the federal government, not township zoning.

The township is looking to attract not only business, but to provide areas for housing that would be attractive to young professionals or those looking to downsize.

RA provides for single-family attached dwellings, which are housing structures for two, but not more than four, homes, such as townhouses often found in college towns. To provide growth for the township, areas attractive for housing need to be provided.

Residents expressed concern about safety in regards to lighting and sidewalks and the possibility of livestock. The township has copies of the covenants for that area and they already provide for restrictions on livestock, guidelines for lighting, etc.

After nearly an hour, the supervisors informed the residents that they would discuss the matter and revisit later. Residents wanted the supervisors to set a date, but Chairman Randy Powell said that they want to have enough time to thoroughly look at options, discuss the matter and come to a decision.

He said it would not be this month and encouraged the residents to attend future meetings on the first and third Tuesday of each month.

“If you are concerned about the township and where you live, come to the meetings,” added Supervisor Jeremy Ruffner.

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One thought on “LT Residents Concerned Regarding Zoning Change

  1. Tombartho

    One correction I would like to make to this article is that there was NO posting on the affected lots in River’s Bend; the posting was on an unaffected property that was past the affected properties. The Municipal Code also says that signage must be “conspicuously posted”. I cannot say I believe an 8 1/2 X 11 inch paper posted in the very back of the development several feet from the road written in standard font and in an area posted as no trespassing is “conspicuously posted”. My belief is that the township did not make an effort to notify those affected; I believe they tried to meet the very minimum requirements of the Municipal Code to keep people as uninformed as possible. They failed at the requirement by not having signage on the affected property and I believe also failed because I do not think the courts would see the signage as “conspicuously posted”. Rather than being conspicuous I believe they tried to be as inconspicuous as possible.

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