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Council OKs hearing for rezoning

February 14, 2012

Mayor James Wehrle and Punxsutawney Borough Council member Michele Lorenzo. (Photo by Larry McGuire/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Monday, Punxsutawney Borough Council approved holding a public hearing to address the suggested rezoning of the south side of Union Street to allow for a beauty shop to open in a house on the Shumaker property.

Members of the borough’s Planning & Zoning Commission passed a motion at their Jan. 25 meeting, which recommended to council permitting the temporary occupancy for the Shumaker property to allow a temporary variance beauty shop in the traditional neighborhood district, pending approval by Solicitor Jay Lundy.

Michele Lorenzo, council member/planning commission member, said the commission recommended that the south side of Union Street from South Gilpin to South Jefferson be rezoned as a town center commercial district from a traditional neighborhood.

Lorenzo said the neighborhood was already surrounded by businesses.
Council approved advertising a public hearing in order to change the area’s designation.

Lundy said that it is a 30-day process, and must be advertised in the newspaper twice prior to the hearing.

Council member William Spencer asked if there was any way to allow the owner of the shop to operate temporarily until that portion of Union Street is rezoned. Lundy said the matter must go through the process, and that a temporary variance is not possible.

Jeff Gross, whose wife, Cabyn, owns the beauty shop, said he appreciated what council was doing, and they would be happy for some closure regarding the zoning issue, even if they have to wait another 30 days.

Also at Monday’s meeting,council:
• Approved a motion for a new definition of a commercial building: “A commercial building is a structure planned for commercial practices of which its design reflects a purpose to display goods or services, and consumer access to the goods and services.”

The motion was approved 5-2, with Spencer and Eric Story voting no. Council President Larry Chenoga and council members Toby Santik, Lorenzo, Mike Porada and Robert Reesman voted for the motion.

• Did not approve the town center commercial district addition which would prohibit using the first floor commercial space for apartments.
The motion was defeated 4-3, Chenoga, Santik, Spencer and Story voted against the motion. Reesman, Porada and Lorenzo voted in favor of the change.

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