HERMITAGE Commission OKs land classification

All nonresidential projects must still put in sidewalks in front of their developments.
HERMITAGE, Pa. -- The city planning commission has approved a plan to classify nonresidential land development projects into major and minor categories.
The plan divides nonresidential building projects into major and minor categories. Those less than 10,000 square feet are rated as minor, and those more than 10,000 square feet are classified as major. The minor projects will have somewhat less stringent landscape screening and other requirements.
For example, all projects will be required to put curbs on their access driveways, but only major projects must have building perimeter landscaping and landscaped divider strips in their parking lots and parking lot screening from adjacent public roads.
The recommendation now goes back to city commissioners, who will schedule a public hearing before deciding.
Sidewalks supported
The planning commission, voting Monday, also supported the stipulation that all nonresidential developments, including major remodeling or rebuilding of properties, continue to be required to build sidewalks in front of those project sites.
The sidewalk requirement surfaced in a zoning ordinance amendment in 2001, prompting some complaints from businesses that said sidewalks are unnecessary in front of their operations because they aren't connected to any other sidewalks and they don't lead anywhere.
The city's position is that requiring the sidewalks as projects are developed will eventually create a network of sidewalks in the commercial and industrial areas of the city.
Although the new plan still requires sidewalks, the city has shown a willingness to help pay for them. The city will reimburse developers of nonresidential projects $15 per linear foot of sidewalk installed, about half the cost.

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