Feasibility of having a Lake Township Zoning Board to be investigated by a citizens committee

By Eileen Godin - egodin@timesleader.com | February 16th, 2016 6:36 pm

By Eileen Godin


LAKE TWP. — A citizens committee is forming to determine the feasibility of developing a local zoning board, said Bob Pace, a Lake Township supervisor.

The rural Back Mountain community falls under the Luzerne County Zoning Board. But in 2014, a proposed hydraulic fracturing fluid treatment facility threatened the tranquil community spurring interest among residents and supervisors to investigate the benefits and disadvantages of a local zoning board.

“I like the idea of planning out our own zoning board,” Pace said. “We (township residents) could determine what our township will look like in the future.”

The trade off for the independence are expenses, he said.

The small municipality has over 2,000 residents and a 2016 budget totaling just under $400,000, Pace said.

“We have to look at the expense of having a zoning solicitor, a place to meet and creating a zoning ordinance,” he said. “No one wants to see taxes go up, but we do need to pay for township services.”

Revenue generated from zoning applications could cover some expenses, Pace said.

“There is much more that needs to be done to understand the effect a zoning board would have on the township,” Pace said. “It will take time and research.”

Lehman Township and the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors have offered assistance in Pace’s search for information.

“PSATS is willing to help with the legality of establishing a zoning board,” he said.

The idea has created conversations in the township. Pace has heard from supporters and opponents who stated the municipality is too rural to need a local zoning board.

With public opinion widespread, Pace is developing a citizen’s committee to study the pros and cons of the idea.

“There are currently seven people volunteering to work on this,” he said.

Residents interested in studying the concept of a Lake Township Zoning Board can call 570-639-2828, email laketwp@epix.net or visit www.laketwppa.com.

Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews