Zoning map

Peters Township's current zoning map

The construction of four-story buildings as a conditional use no longer is part of Peters Township’s zoning regulations.

An ordinance amending the township code, approved by council Monday, limits buildings in the McMurray Town Center zoning district to three stories with a maximum height of 34 feet for those with flat roofs and 41 feet for pitched roofs.

Council member Jim Berquist voted against the ordinance, citing his belief that the provisions go against the intent of creating a “Main Street”-type appearance in the district similar to that of Southpointe Town Center in Cecil Township.

“As an owner of two buildings within the McMurray Town district, I’m very disappointed,” he said.

The overall action by council follows Peters Township Planning Commission’s recommendation to approve the ordinance. A public hearing addressing the measure took place prior to council’s Sept. 27 meeting.

Another zoning change in the McMurray Town Center district lowers the “maximum floor area ratio,” defined as equal to the gross floor area of a building divided by a lot’s gross buildable area, from 1 to .85.

The amendment also increases the minimum and maximum front setbacks in the district to 25 and 30 feet, respectively.

In the zoning districts designated as Conservation Residential Overlay and Mixed-Residential Overlay, the minimum width of a cartway – that is the actual road surface area from curbline to curbline – has increased from 20 to 24 feet, including two-foot curbs on each side.

Front setbacks for residences must be between 25 and 30 feet from the right of way to the front porch or façade, and the minimum lot width for a single-family detached home now is 75 feet.

Also, one guest parking space is required per every five units in a residential development, to be evenly distributed throughout the plan with no more than five contiguous spaces in a single parking area.

In other business at Monday’s council meeting:

  • Council approved making an application to the Redevelopment Authority of Washington County’s Local Share Account Program for a grant toward the cost of building a new aquatic center at Rolling Hills Park.

While the project’s total estimate is $10 million, the grant would apply to the approximately $1 million associated with the aquatic structures and equipment. The township could receive up to $500,000 to cover half the expenses.

Council member Monica Merrell asked whether the money needed to be put toward an aquatic center.

“We do have a park full of other things we’re going to be interested in doing,” she said.

Frank Arcuri, another member of council, questioned if the construction of shelters in the park might qualify as an applicable use.

“I don’t think you can say, ‘shelters,’ in general,” township manager Paul Lauer said. “They ask for a project description that’s fairly specific.”

An aquatic center probably stands the chance of gaining the most attention with regard to the Local Share Account, according to David Ball, council chairman.

“One of the things that’s necessary is that it has to be a project that’s attractive to the LSA board,” he said. “You have to sell it to them.”

The application is due Oct. 28, and Lauer said notice of an award normally is given before the end of the year.

The Local Share Account supports community and economic development by dispersing funds generated by gaming revenues.

  • An agreement between the township and state Department of Transportation regarding maintenance of the future roundabout at Valley Brook and Bebout roads also gained council’s approval.

Under the agreement, PennDOT is responsible for paving and snow removal, and the municipality for landscaping and lighting in the roundabout’s center island. PennDOT agrees to furnish and install the lighting system at no cost to the township, and then transfer the ownership to the municipality.

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!