All three workshops will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Township Administration Building – not Curtis Hall – located at 8230 Old York Road in Elkins Park.
A community planner from the Montgomery County Planning Commission is expected to give an introductory presentation at the Oct. 29 session, the emphasis being on residential development parameters, although this has not been confirmed by the township. Questions and concerns expressed by the public will be minimal since the purpose of the workshops is to educate the commissioners, who will have to decide on whether or not to enact the proposal.
Township officials have indicated, however, that ample public questioning and airing of concerns would be a part of the deliberation process before any decision is made.
The latest version of the changes includes feedback gathered at several public workshops held in early 2014 on the original draft Ordinance, dated November 2013, said the township in its announcement. In August the commissioners unexpectedly called off the workshop series, which had been set to launch Aug. 13, primarily due to schedule conflicts.
One of the notable areas of revision under consideration encourages business development by opening up opportunities for high-rise development near public transit. Also, mixed uses, such as B&Bs (bed and breakfasts) and first floor retail space topped by housing units in residential neighborhoods are proposed. You can find a primer on the proposal here.
Work on the zoning overhaul began in 2005 when the Ad-hoc Subcommittee was formed to rewrite the zoning ordinance in compliance with what was then the new Comprehensive Plan. In 2013, after years of effort to revamp the current ordinance, which was adopted back in 1964, the subcommittee completed its draft. From January through April 2014 they conducted five informational meetings, where the major components of the ordinance were presented for public review. As a result of the input from those meetings, the commissioners authorized a Select Committee that began meeting about a year ago to review public concerns and make further revisions.
The second and third workshops are set for Monday, Nov. 16 and Thursday, Dec. 17.
The zoning proposal, including the revamped map, is online, along with an overview of the differences between current requirements and the proposed changes.