MERCER COUNTY City mulls zoning change for company's expansion

A proposed zoning change would let the company double its size.
HERMITAGE, Pa. -- The Joy Cone Co. may be able to get the building expansion it wants after all, thanks to a proposed zoning regulation change the city is considering.
Joy, a manufacturer of ice cream cones, had proposed a 168,000-square-foot addition to its 208,000-square-foot plant on Lamor Road in July. But Joy learned that zoning regulations limited its expansion to only 50 percent of current building size because the company is a nonconforming use in a residential zone.
The company accepted that limitation and began planning a 104,000-square-foot addition instead but may now be able to go back to its original plan.
City Manager Gary Hinkson, speaking at a city commissioner work session Thursday, said a zoning amendment to be introduced Wednesday will let companies in Joy's position expand to 100 percent of their current building space, provided the project meets yard setback requirements and lot coverage limits. Buildings can't cover more than 15 percent of the owner's property.
The amendment would allow only one expansion up to 100 percent. Current regulations limit an expansion to 50 percent but let the business to come back repeatedly asking for further expansions of up to 50 percent each.
Other business
In other matters, Hinkson said the commissioners heard from a Sample Road resident concerned about the cost of impending sanitary sewer line construction assessments in that area.
Gregg Buchanan asked the city to consider the financial impact that the assessment will have on residents required to tap into the new line.
Hinkson said an ordinance setting the assessment fee at $25 per front foot, with a maximum of 200 feet or $5,000, will be introduced Wednesday.
The total project cost was $409,732 and the amount assessed to about 40 property owners is $244,860. The city municipal authority is picking up the rest.
Residents can pay their assessment at once or over five years at 4.2 percent interest, he said.
Property owners with undeveloped land exceeding the 200-foot maximum mark could be assessed the same $25 per foot cost should that land be developed, Hinkson said.
In addition to the front foot assessments, residents have to pay a $1,000 tap-in fee plus foot the bill for running sewer lines from their homes to the new city line.

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