Some time ago the Township undertook a study of the Penn Avenue corridor to develop a plan for revitalizing and strengthening this important commercial area within the Township. The Revitalization Plan that came out of that analysis outlined specific actions aimed at creating a more vibrant, pedestrian-friendly corridor. Among the key recommendations in the Plan were amendments to the Township’s Zoning regulations intended to promote a proper combination of uses along the corridor and maximize the compatibility of development with adjacent residential areas and homes. The amendments are intended to not only promote desirable types of business, but to allow people to live close to where they work and shop.
Earlier this year the Board of Supervisors enacted sweeping revisions to the Township’s Zoning Ordinance which contain provisions incorporating many of the recommendations in the Penn Avenue Revitalization Plan. Although these were far from the only modifications to the Ordinance, they did comprise some of the main points of emphasis of the amendment.
The chief revisions to the Zoning Ordinance impacting the Penn Avenue corridor include:
- The creation of the Penn Avenue Mixed Use (PMU) District, located primarily in the West Lawn area. This district
allows a mixture of residential, retail, personal service establishments and businesses. In addition to single-family
dwellings, the permitted residential uses include semi-detached dwellings and apartments.
- The creation of the Penn Avenue Commercial (PAC) District, covering the existing businesses along the western portion
of the corridor. This district accommodates a wide variety of commercial activities which provide goods and services.
Unlike the PMU District, the only residential use permitted within this area would be apartments on upper levels above
- The establishment of an overlay district that covers the entire corridor and provides incentives to businesses such as
reduced parking requirements and building setback relief.
- General provisions to allow shared parking and to ease certain restrictive standards for commercial uses such as
unnecessary minimum lot sizes and excessive setbacks.
In time, other elements of the Penn Avenue Revitalization Study will be considered, such as improving traffic circulation and parking and establishing a building façade program with incentives for property owners to improve building exteriors, install sidewalks, plant trees and make other streetscape enhancements. The Township will be inviting interested residents and property owners in the Penn Avenue area to participate in the planning process for these activities.