Whitehall-Coplay Press

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Commissioners hear request to rezone nearly 50 acres

Wednesday, October 9, 2019 by Kathy Lauer-Williams Special to The Press in Local News

At its workshop meeting Oct. 7, Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners heard a request to rezone nearly 50 acres of land in the northern tier of the township.

Joseph Iudiciello, representative of the residuary trust of Andrew Yastisacehok, said the trust owned 155 undeveloped acres bordered by Spruce and Spring streets that was zoned R1, or very low density.

Iudiciello said under R1 zoning, the property would be limited to 1-acre lots. However, since the 49.9-acre section at 4500 Spruce St. has access to gravity sewer and public water, Iudiciello asked that it be rezoned from R1 to R3, or medium density.

“I’m asking so the property would be suitable for a single-family lot subdivision,” Iudiciello said.

He also noted an adjacent property to the 49.9 acres is zoned R4 and has been developed.

The zoning change request also includes asking that the remaining 29 acres on Spruce Street and 12 acres on Spring Street be changed from R1 to OS1, or open space.

Iudiciello said that section of the property has steep sections and is heavily wooded.

“Rezoning would preclude any development in the future,” he said. “I feel this would be consistent with the comprehensive plan.”

Commissioners also heard a request from Belmont Glen Condominium Association, which is asking for a fence on the property to be removed.

The township required the split-rail fence when the development was built to keep pedestrians from wandering into an overflow swale.

However, over the years, the fence has deteriorated and members of the condominium association want it removed.

They have agreed to an indemnification agreement with the township, stating the township would not be held legally liable if someone gets hurt.

Lisa Pereira, attorney for the association, said no one had ever seen water running in the swale but admitted it was possible in the case of a 100-year storm.

Virginia Totin, association board member, said there were originally 293 fence posts and only about 60 percent are still standing.

“They are all falling down,” she said.

Also discussed was setting trick-or-treat night for 6-8 p.m. Oct. 25, with a rain date of Oct. 26.

All three issues will be voted on at the board meeting Oct. 14.