Commission: Don’t delay reassessment

The Lycoming County Planning Commission is recommending the county commissioners proceed with countywide reassessment in 2014 as planned, the commission announced at its Thursday meeting.

Because of the potential impacts of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 discussed at the commission’s previous hearing at Pennsylvania College of Technology, the commissioners asked the planning commission to review and recommend whether reassessment still should proceed.

Before its meeting, the commission held a briefing meeting to discuss reassessment in light of the act, and voted 7-2 to approve the recommendation of continuation of reassessment. George “Herm” Logue Jr. and Carl Nolan voted against it, while Larry Fry, Howard Fry, Cindy Bower, James Dunn, Christopher E. Keiser, Joseph H. Neyhart and William Parsons voted in favor.

The majority of the board agreed the appeals process would be fair for the 10 percent of the county’s population in the floodplain.

“We didn’t want to delay reassessment for the 10 percent affected” because the appeals process offers a good solution, said commission Executive Director Kurt Hausammann Jr.

Hausammann noted while it’s likely houses in the floodplain will decrease in value, no evidence substantiates that yet, and the appeals process will flesh that out.

The commissioners will decide whether or not to accept the recommendation at a later meeting date. If it goes forward, the new values will go into effect Jan. 1, 2015.

In other business, the commission approved Hausammann to pursue a text amendment of Muncy Township zoning as Ashler Inc., 276 Ashler Manor Drive, wants to build an office building, which is not permitted in the suburban estate zone.

Ashler Inc. submitted a map amendment request that would affect the southeastern portion of the township, including 10 properties and 45 acres. The amendment would change zoning from suburban estate to suburban mixed zoning, which could be approved at the next commission meeting.

However, township supervisors opposed the map amendment as it would cause them to lose more control of land uses than a text amendment.

Hausammann clarified a text amendment’s phrasing could allow Ashler Inc. to expand without undergoing special exception hearings and would address the supervisors’ concerns.

The commission also approved the final land development plan of Anadarko’s natural gas compressor station on the northwest side of Santschi Road on Larry’s Creek Fish and Game Club property.

The station would contain eight, 1,400-square-feet compressor buildings, which would serve about eight well pads and 49 wells, among others.

Howard Fry inquired if truck traffic would cause dust and mud migration to other roads and if paving should be a requirement. Because the location is off of a private road and a public road not in close proximity, and minimal truck traffic is anticipated, it would not be an issue, the commission decided.