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November 11, 2012

Neshannock eyes speed, zoning changes

NEW CASTLE — Zoning map changes and new speed limits and stop signs are being considered for Neshannock Township.

The supervisors this week asked RAR Engineering to estimate the cost of an engineering study — the next step toward establishing new speed zones.

Under the state motor vehicle code, speed limits in rural Pennsylvania are 35 miles per hour unless otherwise posted. If the supervisors plan to lower the speed limit to 25 miles per hour through specific residential neighborhoods, an engineering or traffic study is required, township secretary Leslie Bucci told them.

Streets being considered are Buena Vista Way and the Hearthstone Acres development behind the township building. In addition, several residents of Meyer and Northview avenues and Elizabeth Street have requested that stop signs be placed at intersections.

At their next meeting — 7 p.m. Nov. 28 — the supervisors plan to present zoning map changes.

About a dozen changes are included on a proposed map presented by chairman Ralph Sheen.

Some of the proposed changes will correct mistakes on the most recent map. Two changes, requested by David Duddy and B&B Real Estate, were approved in recent years by the township’s zoning board but are not on the township’s current map. Others, he said, reflect actual land use within the township. Most of the proposed zoning changes are along Route 18. Others are at an industrial park on Pulaski Road.

Sheen said he does not believe industrial zones should be next to residential zones. The map he presented proposes creating commercial zones to separate the two, he said.

Supervisor Joe Gierlach said he had not seen the proposed map before the meeting. He asked that a list of changes be presented to the public with an explanation of where they are, approximate acreage involved and why they are needed.

“I had no input into that map at all,” he said following the meeting. “I know some or these correct errors on the map but I don’t understand why some of these changes are necessary.”

Solicitor Lou Perrotta said he had not seen it either. He noted that before changes are made, the proposals must be advertised and a public hearing conducted.

“We have to start somewhere,” he said.

At the meeting, Sheen said, residents will have the opportunity to see the existing zoning and an overlay showing the recommended changes.

Also at the next meeting, the supervisors said, they want to discuss implementing a drug policy for employees. Supervisor Ed Stevens said he would like to begin talking about the 2013 budget including stormwater issues.

The supervisors scheduled budget meetings for 8 a.m. Nov. 19 and 20, and expect to present the 2013 budget at a special meeting Dec. 5.

(Email: nlowry@ncnewsonline.com)

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