Letter to the Editor, Jan. 27, 2013
EDITOR: I am very concerned with some of the proposed zoning changes which are very broad and encompassing with many potential repercussions. Some changes make sense. Many do not.
The zoning map is a legal document that contains all the zoning districts of Sayre Borough; which areas are residential, downtown commercial, floodplain, etc.
An important point is that once zoning is changed it must be changed on the map. The result is that now within that new district, it is no longer necessary for a local review for any proposed changes as long as they fit into the zoning code as a permitted use according to the Zoning Ordinance (Chapter 173 of the Sayre Borough Zoning Code for definitions). Anything that is allowed in that district will go in without any type of review either by the planning commission or the zoning hearing board. No citizen will have any say if they are against a particular proposal to the area. It's pretty much a done deal.
There are two of the numerous potential changes that have a great impact to all our citizens-the change of some property from residential to downtown commercial and from residential to medical campus.
The outcome in an area changed to downtown commercial will allow all types of commercial enterprises such as parking lots, bars, beer distributors, ambulance, fire and rescue, gas stations, garages, car dealers, billiard parlors, motels, car washes, etc.
Please don't think you will have a cute specialty shop or dollar store near you. You probably will not. If a parking lot goes in, the result is increased traffic-both foot and vehicular, and potential noise generated all hours of the day and night from voices and cars coming and going. In winter, plowing will occur any and all hours. Think of the disturbances associated with some of the other businesses mentioned and they may be right next to you.
Some of the areas that will be affected are Lockhart St. from Wilbur to Elmer, and now suddenly around the corner of Wilbur, south to the Hospital lot; along Elmer Ave. South from Packer Ave to the empty lot near the Sayre Theatre. This means anyone on Packer Avenue near the park, Park Place and south Wilbur Avenue by Lockhart St. will be affected. Also, the First Citizens Bank property. Now the surrounding residents are protected with regulations such as defined setbacks, sizes of signs and more because the area is residential. Downtown commercial removes that protection and eliminates the requirements. Presently, there is no downtown commercial nearby and this is spot zoning and should not be allowed.
The second area of concern are two areas that will change from multi family for one and single family residential for another (which is the current use of the properties) to the new zone of Medical Campus. This area is #1. The whole area from Wilbur surrounded by Hayden and Chemung to St. John Lutheran church property, near Keystone Ave. #2. The 16 properties along Lockhart from Wilbur to Hospital Place .
Medical campus designation could result in loading areas, parking lots, incidental storage or a medi-vac-helicopter landing area. If you are in those areas, be prepared for the value of your home to decrease. YOU are now in a medical campus area and thus it will be hard to sell your home except to one specific buyer. The houses listed in #2 are also in a designated Historic District.
Supposedly these changes were to "FIX" some issues around the borough. This is only partially correct. There is nothing wrong with the present multi-family/single residential districts just addressed. What needs to be "fixed?" The area consists of homes with people live there-sounds like residential areas to me. Why are we giving away this land?
Please ask questions about what might happen with these zoning changes. If you were concerned that 7 houses may have been removed from the tax roles for CVS, be prepared for potentially 42 or more houses being destroyed and removed from the tax roles. If you own a home, get ready for the increase in taxes and a decrease in your homes value depending on where you live. Taxes, sewer bills, etc will need to be made up somewhere.
Neither a medical campus nor a parking lot pay taxes. This is a far more encompassing and threatening change than the CVS change.
Please find out all you can regarding the impact these changes will have. Ask questions. It is imperative to have public input.