Concerned residents voice opinions about zoning at Snyder Township meeting

At Monday night’s meeting, several Snyder Township residents were on hand to voice their concerns about a possible future zoning ordinance in Snyder Township.
Chairman of the supervisors, Charlie Diehl said most of the people in attendance were confused about the difference between the township comprehensive plan and zoning.
Last Thursday, the Snyder Township Planning Commission and the EADS Group held a comprehensive plan community meeting at the Bald Eagle Fire Company.
About 40 people attended the meeting at the fire hall to learn about the comprehensive plan, which discusses the township’s past and current use of transportation, housing, infrastructure, land use, water and sewer, to name a few.
One of the purposes of the comprehensive plan is to figure out where the township could possibly be in 10 to 20 years. The planning commission has used the year to come up with some past and current findings of the township, along with recommendations for the future.
Diehl said at Monday’s meeting that the comprehensive plan addresses issues in the township such as water and sewer needs, recreation and other issues. The township must compete for state grant money, and without a comprehensive plan, it is harder to get money for such projects.
Spokesperson for the concerned property owners, Matt Ray, had a list of questions prepared for the supervisors about zoning.
First, Ray requested a copy of the township’s comprehensive plan.
Chairman of the planning commission, James Thomas, told those in attendance that after the comprehensive plan is revised by the members of the planning commission, there will be another public input session scheduled. However, Thomas said he would make a copy available to give to Ray so that he could read it.
Ray asked the supervisors if zoning could be placed on the ballot. The supervisors said that zoning could not be placed on the ballot since it is the job of the supervisors to vote to pass the township ordinances.
Ray also asked if it was a conflict of interest for Bob Ayers to be on the planning commission since he is currently the township code enforcement officer. The supervisors said it was not a conflict of interest. If zoning were passed in the township, there would be an appeals board or zoning officer to take care of zoning issues. If Ayers was to be elected supervisor in November, then he could not serve as zoning officer.
Ray asked if it was possible to enact zoning without a comprehensive plan. The supervisors said the township doesn’t have to enact zoning because of the comprehensive plan.
“You’re going to have to have some sort of control,” Diehl told those in attendance at one point, “or you’re going to get everything that other townships don’t want like hog farms.”
In other township news, the board discussed issues with parking along Clay Avenue. There were three residents in attendance to discuss the parking concerns.
Township Ordinance 2005-1 was enacted in April to create no parking areas on portions of Clay Avenue and Hospital Drive in Snyder Township to protect the children entering and exiting the high school and elementary school during school hours.
Residents said that eliminating the parking along Clay Avenue causes an inconvenience to them. When visitors such as relatives, lawn care workers, health care workers, etc. come to their houses, there is no place to park. They asked if they could be granted residential parking permits to be allotted more parking spaces. The supervisors said the permit idea would not work because if cars are parked there, it creates a safety hazard along Clay Avenue.
“We put up the parking signs for safety,” said Diehl.
Diehl said he would be in favor of amending the no parking ordinance so that residents could park along the street after school hours. This would be from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. in the morning, Monday through Friday and it would also include weekends, holidays and summer when school was not in session.
The supervisors will contact the residents who live along Clay Avenue after the amendment is advertised.
Also, supervisors approved:
• to terminate the existing janitor and hire Robin McNight to fill the janitor position at a rate of $10 an hour;
• to send the following budgeted donations: $5,000 to the Bald Eagle Volunteer Fire Company and $3,500 to the Tyrone-Snyder Public Library and
• to change the 2005 road project seal coat from Cooks Hollow Road to Decker’s Hollow Road.