The Kiski Township Planning Commission and township supervisors will hold hearings in the next two weeks to change zoning regulations to create a business district along 56th Street.

The city is proposing to change the zoning of about 175 properties that line 56th Street.

Most are agricultural or agricultural/residential areas. They will change to a new business district classification.

The new business zone designation will not change the tax status of residents or rates in the business zone, Supervisor Chuck Rodnicki said.

Rodnicki is also a member of the city’s planning commission, which developed the proposed change.

More than half of Route 56’s approximately 9 miles through the city are long stretches of undeveloped country roads. Small clusters of neat houses facing colorful beds of zinnias and coreopsis are, to a lesser extent, separated by abandoned buildings and small businesses.

It’s 17 miles of city road to nowhere, one resident noted, because Route 56 leaves populous areas like Apollo and leads into more heavily rural areas in Indiana County.

Kiski town supervisors would like to change that.

“We’re hoping to bring some new businesses and residences to town,” Rodnicki said.

While zoning can open up development opportunities, it can also control sprawl, he pointed out.

“We don’t want to be a Pittsburgh or a Derry town,” he said.

At Schultz’s Sporting Station, a 55-year-old store along Route 56 that has sold guns and hunting gear to generations of residents, change is on many people’s minds.

Owner Debbie Schultz, a Kiski native and Parks resident, supports growth in the city “if it’s done right and if zoning ordinances are enforced that protect residents’ rights and property values.

“We all need to find time to get information on the zoning of business areas. I need to learn more to know if it benefits the residents or not.”

The township’s zoning ordinance needed a major update since it took effect 34 years ago, Rodnicki said. The planning commission has been working on the changes for about a decade.

The proposed business district will feature businesses with a low to moderate impact in terms of noise and traffic, Rodnicki said.

There will be no high impact industrial businesses. They are limited to industrial areas, none of which are along Route 56, he said.

“The new business district will be controlled,” Rodnicki said. “We’re not going to let a machine go into a beautiful area.”

Loud or disruptive businesses with a moderate impact, such as animal clinics and shelters or auto repair and auto service shops, will have to go before the township’s planning commission and then the supervisors for a land use approval. conditional, Rodnicki said.

“There are a lot of protections for property owners,” he said. “There will be no auto repair shop in a residential area.”

Businesses allowed in the business district would include adult day care, arts and crafts stores, art galleries, bakeries, banks, bicycle sales, boat and marine sales, hospitality and markets, he said. .

Other protections for residents include controlling signage for a neighbor who can’t simply remove a bright digital sign, he said.

Bringing in more stores would be beneficial to residents, especially seniors, said Bill Baum, who has lived in a house along Route 56 with his wife, Cindy, for 10 years.

“We need a Walmart or some kind of store like that,” he said. “With the Kmart in Allegheny Township closed, we have nothing.”

The couple must travel to Harrison, Indiana or Delmont to shop at larger stores.

Although attracting a large store to the immediate area may be difficult, Baum said, a variety of more stores nearby would be helpful.

More shopping options would be valuable to older residents who may not drive long distances or drive at all, the couple said.

Read the ordinance

A copy of the proposed zoning ordinance is available for public viewing from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at the city’s municipal building, 1222A Old State Road.

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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