Amity reschedules Rural Village hearing

The Dec. 18 hearing to approve a Rural Village (RV) Zoning Ordinance in Amity Township, has been postponed until at least Jan. 15.

Board members approved 4-1 on Nov. 20 to add Chris Gross’s properties to the ordinance.

Gross owns two houses at 238 Old Swede Road, which operate as rental units.

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Although Gross doesn’t intend to change the properties’ uses, including them in the rural village legalizes the use.

Supervisor Richard L. Gokey opposed the motion.

That change to the map results in new notifications to the 118 property owners affected by the RV Ordinance.

The rural village would be located in the area of Weavertown and Old Swede roads at Old Airport Road and on properties that are zoned medium density residential (MDR).

Zoning changes will occur in the RV area and also on low and medium density residential properties.

The RV map includes Weavertown Road to the former Merritt’s Antiques, portions of Old Airport Road, and east on Old Swede Road to Pine Forge Road.

Rural village zoning with by-right, permitted uses would allow the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission to review and approve or deny land development plans; applicants wouldn’t need to seek special exception approvals through the zoning board.

Permitted uses would include the typical barber shop, beauty shop, shoe repair, tailor, restaurant and cafe, tea room, bakery, professional offices, arts studios and galleries, day cares, as well as single family dwellings.

Also included are florists, bed and breakfasts, gift, craft, and antique stores, and also cultural uses such as a museum, library, or other educational use, township or religious uses, public uses such as a post office, and no-impact home-based businesses, occupations.

The board unanimously approved expanding the “educational use” to include nursery schools up to high schools and also technical and trade schools.

The list of prohibited uses includes no new vehicle fueling operations, auto sales, adult bookstores, tattoo parlors, and restaurant drive-thrus.

Heather Ramsey, 13 Heather Court, who lives across the street from the Hess Express, 1028 Benjamin Franklin Highway, said the establishment will be open 24 hours a day, following its renovation and relocation of fueling stations.

“It used to be very loud with music and also riff-raff,” said Ramsey, adding that the Hess Express did previously have 24-hour service.

“We wanted the trees on our property instead of at Hess,” said Ramsey. “It would help considerably with the noise, the lights, and the traffic, and the safety, although it would be more expensive.”

Amity Police Chief Kent A. Shuebrook told Ramsey that police would respond to all calls regarding excessive noise and safety issues at Hess.

“If there’s noise, we’ll go, and if it’s excessive we’ll tell them to cease and desist,” said Shuebrook. “I’m sure Hess will address the loud music internally.”