On Monday, Dec. 5, the Cornwall Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously agreed to pass on an ordinance to the borough council allowing manufacturing use in general industrial (GI) districts.

The details of the ordinance were drafted in a meeting held between involved parties including borough engineer Josh Weaber, Byler representatives, council president Bruce Harris, and solicitor Josele Cleary.

The ordinance, which is being fast-tracked due to prospective renter PRL Industries’ time constraints, also includes several modifications to zoning designed to minimize unexpected outcomes of the change.

Section 1 adds a definition of “parent tract,” including that it is contiguous land “held in single and separate ownership” such as the Byler property.

Section 2 removes manufacturing as a permitted use in the Limited Industrial (LI) district.

Section 3 modifies the GI purpose, including that “these areas are located adjoining major roads so as to permit adequate access to the sites while avoiding the use of the Borough’s residential streets by trucks and heavy vehicles used to operate the processing and manufacturing facilities permitted herein.”

Section 4 amends GI permitted uses to include “manufacturing, processing, and accessory storage for manufacturing and processing uses,” “retail businesses directly in connection with permitted uses, not to exceed 30 percent of the gross leasable area of the building in which it is located,” and “office uses when directly in connection with permitted uses.”

Section 5 modifies the GI performance standards to include that all conditional and permitted uses can be established “unless and until certification is provided to the Borough Council or the Zoning Officer, as applicable, that satisfactorily demonstrates compliance with the performance standards of this section.”

Section 6 modifies GI performance standards to require a buffer area of at least 100 feet for industrial uses next to residential districts, and at least 200 feet next to a major road other than U.S. Route 322.

Section 7 modifies GI performance standards to limit any parent tract to 175 average daily trips for all vehicles, or five average daily trips for trucks larger than box trucks.

You can see the full ordinance below.

This ordinance came about following public outrage regarding an 800,000-square-foot warehouse previously considered for the property.

Read More: Cornwall Borough Council hears concept plans from Byler Holdings, one including a nearly 800,000-square-foot warehouse

Byler representatives have said that the warehouse will no longer be under consideration if this ordinance is passed.

Read More: Cornwall to consider Byler zoning amendment, expects January decision

If council decides to continue moving forward with the ordinance at next week’s meeting, it will be passed on to Lebanon County Planning and will likely come to a vote following a public hearing in January.

Members of the public will have the opportunity to make their voices heard or ask questions both at next week’s meeting and the January hearing.

While this ordinance has been fast-tracked, the commission will continue discussions with Byler on possible amendments concerning the remainder of the property.

The commission will also consider the “Citizen’s Text Amendment” put forward by Cornwall United 4 Responsible Development, which would remove “public warehousing” as an LI permitted use and add it as a permitted conditional use to the general commercial district.

Read more: Cornwall Borough Council refers citizen’s text amendment to ad hoc committee

Monday, the commission also heard from Weaber that Byler Holdings has submitted a plan for residential development on land which is roughly 80% in the Residential Low Density (RLD) and 20% in Conservation Recreation. An earlier version of the plan had placed the residential development on the southern side of the quarry in LI.

The plan includes 131 single-family detached homes, which would be constructed over three phases.

Access for the development would be through Iron Valley Drive and Rexmont Road. P&Z Ray Fratini said that he expects significant road improvements to be required based on the scope of the project and expected traffic.

No action was taken Monday, but the topic will be on the docket for a later P&Z meeting as the traffic study is analyzed.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article misstated the zoning for the proposed residential community. Although an earlier plan had slotted the community into LI land on the southern side of the quarry, the new plan places the community on the northern side of quarry. That land is roughly 80% in the Residential Low Density (RLD) and 20% in Conservation Recreation according to the borough. We have updated the article accordingly.

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Emily Bixler was born and raised in Lebanon and now reports on local government. In her free time, she enjoys playing piano and going for hikes.


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