MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Erie Times E-Edition Article-Millcreek Township updating its zoning code

Posted by M. C. on November 11, 2021

Government Central Planning. You follow their rules then a few years later everything changes and you get the hot poker. Those holding the government poker don’t feel the heat.

https://erietimes-pa-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=03cc45661_1345fcb

Dana Massing Erie Times-News USA TODAY NETWORK Greater flexibility and the filling of commercial vacancies in already developed areas are among the goals of an updated zoning code for Millcreek Township.

But some developers have concerns about what the ordinance could mean for retail space.

‘We’ve really looked at the entire township,’ Supervisor Dan Ouellet said Tuesday before a meeting at which the township Planning Commission was to hear public comment on the draft of the zoning ordinance.

Among proposed changes are that some commercial areas, such as along parts of West 26th Street and West Eighth Street, would become designated for multi use. Ouellet said this would allow for greater flexibility.

Supervisor Jim Bock said another goal of rewriting the ordinance was to try to find people and businesses to fill vacancies in areas that are already developed. He said, for example, that might mean something new moving into a location like the former Kmart plaza at West 26th Street and Sterrettania Road rather than expansion into undeveloped areas south of the Millcreek Mall.

But attorney Michael Agresti, who attended Tuesday’s meeting on behalf of clients who own property near Interchange Road, said the updated ordinance would ‘downzone’ those areas from commercial to multi use. He said those areas and ones along West 26th would go from greater uses to more restrictive ones and not allow for retail space unless under nonconforming status. He called the zoning ordinance ‘flawed’ and said it could be better.

Agresti said it would have an unintended consequence of lowering property values, which would affect the township tax base.

Other developers and residents also spoke at the Planning Commission meeting on topics including retail space and multi-family development, among others.

Agresti said he felt the commission was interested in hearing more about the concerns and having more discussion. He said some people think the zoning changes are being rushed and there shouldn’t be a hurry to vote on the ordinance.

‘Nothing is set in stone yet,’ Ouellet said before the meeting, adding that the process has been going on for a couple years and there is still time for members of the public to express an opinion.

The ordinance is expected to go before the Planning Commission again at its Dec. 7 meeting at 7 p.m., Ouellet and Bock said. Then it is expected to go to the supervisors for a public hearing and a vote at their Dec. 14 meeting at 7 p.m.

Information about the zoning ordinance, including links to the

211-page draft and a zoning map , can be viewed at http://www.millcreektownship.com/ 358/Zoning-Code-Update . Ouellet said the public can also submit comments there.

‘We look at all of them,’ he said.

Modernizing the township’s zoning code is part of the

Embrace Millcreek comprehensive plan . Its priority areas, according to the township website, are creating a distinctive and high-quality Gateway District to Presque Isle, strengthening neighborhood investment, positioning commercial corridors for adaptation and redevelopment, supporting business development, and promoting strong and sustainable stewardship of township infrastructure.

Contact Dana Massing at

Filling vacant properties, such as the former Kmart Plaza at West 26th Street and CHRISTOPHER MILLETTE/ERIE TIMES-NEWS

Be seeing you

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