As a result of a request from a potential developers, Vernon Township supervisors are considering allowing the installation of self-service storage or mini-warehouses in the township's rural residential zoning district.
The proposed ordinance change was discussed by Vernon Township Manager Robert Horvat at Thursday's supervisors meeting. Horvat said a developer interested in purchasing the property located at 8963 Perry Highway inquired about putting in self-service storage there.
Under current ordinance guidelines, Horvat said there is no way to install such a thing in the rural residential zoning district.
"It's not an allowed use," he said. "It's not a conditional use. It's not a special exception use. Really, there's no use that allows for it in that zoning district."
The proposed ordinance change — which is largely the same as the self-service storage and mini-warehouse policy for the Conneut Corridor zoning district — would allow the construction of such features on a conditional use basis.
Conditions include the parcel being no less than 2 acres in size, having the storage or warehouse building more than 250 feet away from the center line of any adjacent public road right of way, having the facility enclosed by a perimeter fence between 6-8 feet high, and various other such provisions.
Horvat said the rural residential zoning district is relatively small, with most of it centered around Radio Tower Hill.
Horvat said the developers also brought up the topic of outdoor storage and asked the supervisors for their opinions on the prospect. However, they quickly disagreed with the notion.
Supervisor Greg Smith said allowing outdoor storage in only one zoning district while forbidding it in others would be "opening a can of worms" which could lead to complaints from residents in other districts.
Supervisor Gary Wagner agreed.
"That makes sense," he said in regard to not allowing outside storage. "Otherwise we're showing favoritism and we don't want that."
Vernon consulting engineer Ashley Porter said the township has traditionally declined applications for development that requested outdoor storage, even to the degree that those developments are constructed elsewhere.
Supervisors are acting quickly on the proposed ordinance change, with a conditional use hearing to take place before their July 1 work session. The hearing would occur at 6:30 p.m., and the supervisors will likely vote on the measure at their voting meeting on the same day, at 7:30 p.m.
Additionally, the ordinance change will undergo review by the Vernon Township Planning Committee at its June 17 meeting at 6:30 p.m. The Crawford County Planning Commission will also review the ordinance change at its meeting on June 28 at 3:30 p.m. at the Crawford County Courthouse, according to Horvat.
Sean P. Ray can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.