Sayre zoning changes pass
The Sayre Borough council Thursday voted 4-2 to adopt an ordinance amending the borough's zoning map.
The ordinance, passed after six months of public hearings, discussions and modifications, will affect 45 borough properties. Council members Gene Osmun and JoAnn Sabatura voted against the ordinance, while council president Henry Farley abstained from voting.
A public hearing on the finalized ordinance attracted three speakers - Barbara Ault and Jan Scott of the borough planning commission and North Lehigh Avenue resident Susan White-Alvino.
The planning commission recommended that properties on the south side of Lockhart Street remain residential because they lack the setbacks required for a downtown commercial district, Ault said.
Ault also cautioned against changing the Epiphany School property on Stevenson Street to the conservation district. The convent on the property would be a non-conforming use, and the Diocese of Scranton, which owns the property, would need to have the zoning changed again should the school's use change.
While planning commission members did not agree with the ordinance as a whole, "I'm as anxious to get this over as the rest of you," Ault told council members Thursday.
Scott, on behalf of her neighbors, asked the council to consider keeping properties across from Howard Elmer Park on South Elmer Avenue as light commercial instead of changing them to downtown commercial. The affected parcels include a residence, the Sayre Presbyterian Church, the Sayre Theatre and an adjoining vacant lot.
Leaving the properties as is would protect the area across from the park, and the properties have existing nonconforming uses in the light commercial district, Scott said.
Sabatura said she was concerned with the erosion of borough neighborhoods, particularly in areas slated to be rezoned as downtown commercial. "I'm wondering why we need to expand downtown commercial," she said. Osmun, meanwhile, said he wanted to take the planning commission's recommendations into consideration.
Other council members were in favor of the ordinance as presented. Bob Flick said he believed the changes would lead to increased growth downtown.
"We've got to give [businesses] the opportunity to develop in downtown Sayre," Flick said. "We've got to try it."
The ordinance makes amendments to the borough's zoning map for the following properties:
-the Enterprise Center property on South Elmer Avenue and the Capece property, from industrial to business incubator.
-the Furman and Jones Garage property and parcels owned by Parvin Mensch, located on College Hill and Lake Street, from single-family residential to light commercial.
-South Thomas Avenue from Packer Avenue to the borough's public works building, from light commercial to business incubator.
-the south side of Lockhart Street between Elmer and Wilbur avenues, including the rear of Endless Mountains Bakery Café Too, PS Bank, two properties owned by Steven Crain and the dental office of Dr. Karen Jaggars, from single/double family residential to downtown commercial.
-the Sayre Public Library and Rock Your Style salon on South Elmer Avenue, from single/double family residential to downtown commercial.
-the Epiphany School property on Stevenson Street, from single-family residential to conservation.
-the Morning Times property on North Lehigh Avenue from light commercial to downtown commercial.
-the Original Italian Grille restaurant at North Lehigh Avenue and Spring Street, from light commercial to highway commercial.
-the east side of Spring Street from North Lehigh Avenue to the Milltown bridge, from industrial to highway commercial.
-the west side of Spring Street, from light commercial to highway commercial.
-the east side of North Lehigh Avenue between Mohawk and Bradford streets, including properties owned by X-tra Storage and Greater Valley EMS, from light commercial to highway commercial.
-the Guthrie pediatrics office and Sayre Health Care Center on North Elmer Avenue, from highway commercial to medical campus.
-two Guthrie-owned vacant parcels, one on North Elmer Avenue and the other on Bradford Street, from multi-family residential to medical campus.
-the Sayre Theatre and adjoining vacant lot, the Sayre First Presbyterian Church and a residence on the corner of Elmer and Packer avenues, from light commercial to downtown commercial.
Amanda Renko can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or email: email@example.com.