COITSVILLE Trustees to discuss buffer zones

The zones would provide visual and sound barriers between businesses and residents.
COITSVILLE -- Trustees will likely consider adding buffer zones to the township zoning code to protect residential areas that abut business, commercial or light industrial districts when they meet in September.
Trustee Chairman Walter Avdey said trustees will try to come up with a buffer zone width they can agree on at the 7 p.m. meeting Sept. 19. He said the public is welcome to comment at that meeting before trustees vote on the matter.
Width: During a joint meeting of the township trustees, zoning board and zoning board of appeals Tuesday evening, a major topic of discussion was whether the width of the required buffer zone should be 20, 25 or 30 feet.
Trustees previously had tabled a recommendation from both the zoning board and zoning board of appeals for a 30-foot-wide buffer.
Zoning Inspector Allan Morris said a 30-foot buffer requirement on two or three sides of a parcel would be too restrictive and would likely force him to send many cases to the zoning board of appeals for consideration of a zoning variance.
Avdey said he favors 20 feet because a 30-foot requirement would serve as a barrier to economic development.
"I think that most people that would move into a rural bedroom community like Coitsville Township are coming out here because they want as few restrictions on them as possible, and I like to be sensitive to that," he said. "Let's not shoot ourselves in the foot. Let's be conservative."
"I'd say 30 feet is quite a good number to stick with, and you can amend down from that if you have to," said Trustee Frank Sergi, adding that he thought residents would favor 30 feet.
Mike Stipetich, zoning board chairman, said when the proposal was drafted, he believed there is "ample room in our rural community for a developer to supply 30 feet."
Description: The proposal approved by the zoning board and zoning board of appeals says business, commercial and light industrial establishments are to establish a natural or landscape buffer for the entire length of the property line between themselves and their residential neighbors.
A natural buffer must contain heavy vegetation with a minimum height of eight feet and an eight-foot-high privacy fence.
A landscape buffer is to contain two rows of evergreen trees eight feet apart, with the trees staggered at four-foot intervals. The minimum combined height of the trees and any earthen embankment to be used is to be eight feet.

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