This draft ordinance and map can be downloaded from: www.sullivancounty-pa.us/offices/planning-development. They have both changed since 10/12/15.
The Zoning Map shows which one of the seven new sets of “zoning” restrictions would apply to each lot. Many other restrictions fall equally on all land of the county.
The draft “Zoning Ordinance” is the proposed new law. Warning: It is very hard to read, harder to make sense of and impossible to predict the full impact.
It is not ‘light’ zoning. It is highly restrictive, describing an amazingly broad range of new prohibitions, restrictions, required permits, and fees for all manner of our common activities. It restricts not just gas wells but baking and woodworking. All of these restrictions would have the force of law. They would be enforced by new zoning officers, administrators and a hearing board, with costs paid, one way or another, by us.
It describes sixty-two “Uses”, apparently referring to ‘land use’ but the rules go well beyond land use. Only four uses are “permitted” in all seven zones. Two of those; gardening and forestry, are the only activities marked “no permit required.” Yes, the ordinance controls your private gardening on your private land. The other two; “Accessory Uses” and “No Impact Home Business” are called “Uses permitted of Right” but apparently require an application, fee, permit and must comply with lists of specific new restrictions. For example, in the latter “use” you may employ only resident family members. The ordinance does not care if the whole county appears in support, if your daughter moves out, she’s fired.
All listed or unlisted “uses” and activities, even gardening, must comply with the many new general restrictions. The very few exceptions include the sound of the “unamplified human voice” (sorry shouting neighbors are not a violation at anytime of day), but the exception for “ringing of bells and chimes by a place of worship…”is limited to times of “Routine ringing...”(page 6-11) Sorry, no exception for wedding bells.
The three County Commissioners could enact this ordinance within a few weeks. Public hearings are required. One has already occurred. A second is scheduled at the Sullivan County Courthouse tonight, October 28, 2015 at 7:30pm.
If you want the county government to enact these new rules “permitting, prohibiting, regulating, restricting, and determining …” practically everything you and your neighbors do everyday, you may want this draft ordinance adopted. If not the Planning Office and commissioners need to hear from you.
Concerned Citizens of Sullivan County
All statements on this website are the sole opinion and perspective of Jeffrey Hamilton. Don't just blindly trust me for the facts, research for yourself!