Local impact of drilling ruling to be considered

With the recent state Supreme Court ruling that restores local municipalities’ right to control natural gas drilling activities, the Lycoming County Planning Commission voted Thursday to have the community and strategic planning committee consider those implications on the zoning ordinance.

The commission had been poised to amend the ordinance to come into compliance with the oil and gas law’s provisions but held off when the court case was filed.

In light of the most recent decision, the committee will make a recommendation on the ruling’s implications to the zoning ordinance to the commission from its work session next month.

In other business, the commission approved its recommendation to the county commissioners for a text amendment of Muncy Township zoning, keeping the suburban estate zoning with a permitted use of an office building.

Ashler Inc., 276 Ashler Manor Drive, wants to build an office building, which is not permitted in the suburban estate zone, and requested a map amendment that would change it to suburban mixed zoning, so it could build.

However, township supervisors objected to the suburban mixed zoning request because they felt it would limit their control of the land.

The commission offered the text amendment as a balance between the two parties, keeping it suburban estate while offering permitted use of the office building.

A public hearing will be held on the matter and submitted for commissioners’ approval.

The commission approved its officers for 2014: George “Herm” Logue Jr. remains chairman; Howard Fry replaces Larry Fry as vice chairman; and Christopher E. Keiser is secretary.