Planning Commission for a first look at the zoning map | Local News
Over the past few years, New Castle Town Council has been approached on several occasions with conditional use applications that do not align with current zoning laws.
These have led to disputes and litigation. An effort to clean up the city’s zoning map cleared its first hurdle when it was presented to the city’s planning commission at Wednesday’s meeting. Zoning changes must first be submitted to the planning commission, said city council president MaryAnne Gavrile, who spoke on the matter.
Planning and zoning officer Jim Farris, Lawrence County Commissioner’s Chairman Morgan Boyd and Gavrile have been working over the past year to clean up the map.
“Correct whatever you want,” Gavrile said. “It will take you months to do it. It will not be presented to the (council) next week. It’s a very thoughtful process. We wanted to tighten the map where there were inconsistencies with the map. Second, we wanted more than anything to shut down downtown. »
She asked the planning commission to spend some time looking at the map when they have time and then come back to council as a whole with a recommendation. Public hearings will then take place.
“It’s a long process,” she said.
A first dispute in the new map has already been raised by commissioner Heather Armstrong, who owns two adjacent houses in the 300 block of East Street next to New Castle Junior-Senior High School.
“I was a bit shocked when I looked at the package and found that the rezoning made my house commercial properties,” she said. “There is no parking. There is no street parking. I understand this is a review process and we will have the opportunity to review all of this and take a close look at where other things are redesigned.
Other appeals that were presented to the commission on Wednesday included a downtown beer hall and apartments in the Temple Building. Both appeals were approved unanimously and are subject to further consideration by City Council.
Former New Castle Mayor and Alderman Tim Fulkerson, who owns and operates the Henry Banquet Center at 20 S. Mercer St., spoke on behalf of the business and his nephew, Eric, who wants to open his Neshannock Creek Brewing Co. inside the building. Fulkerson said the brewery’s operations would be locked in the basement of the building and the operations would only be complementary to events taking place at the banquet center, which hosts weddings, receptions, graduation parties, showers and more.
The brewery, in other words, would not be a retail operation with walk-in traffic. If granted, Eric Fulkerson would receive a license from the state that would also allow The Henry to then offer other wines and spirits brewed in Pennsylvania.
Currently, event organizers are allowed to bring their own alcohol under special rules. The banquet hall closes at 10:00 p.m. when it holds events, which are mostly on weekends.
Ash K. Allgyer, of Allre Enterprises LLC, is a potential buyer of the Temple Building at 125 E. North St. He said current plans, if approved, would retain the first floor as retail space at retail, the second and third floors as commercial offices and to redevelop the fourth and fifth floors for tenants. Currently the fourth floor is vacant and the top floor has a few tenants.
In total, there would be 14 units, but they’re asking for up to 21. Allgyer said parking would be handled by buying or leasing one of the downtown lots.
The Temple Building is currently owned by Tom Wilson’s 2BOrNot2B company, which also owns the former FirstMerit Bank Building and the Washington Center complex.