Developer’s request to expand business district approved

KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette Attorney J. Michael Willey, talks about Herman Logue's property during a planning commission meeting on Tuesday afternoon at city hall.

The Williamsport Planning Commission gave a positive recommendation Tuesday to a developer’s proposal to expand the Central Business District to include a building he owns at West Third and Hepburn streets and move the district west to Center Street.

Developer Herman Logue informed the commission through J. Michael Wiley, attorney, that he wants to build a bar and restaurant and update the vacant former Head to Toe Salon building at 301 W. Third St.

Harry Sechler, chairman of the commission, said the expansion to include the west boundary and not Logue’s building alone prevents the city officials from having the appearance of allowing spot zoning.

The building is in a commercial zone, according to Gary Knarr, city zoning administrator.

Knarr said he will prepare a report for council, which may be able to vote on it in four weeks.

The structure is in a prominent location and is a landmark, Wiley said.

The proposed expansion of the central business district received support from Dr. Anthony J. Cipolla, chairman of the Williamsport Parking Authority, and Daniel A. Klingerman, owner of Liberty Arena and Family Entertainment Center.

The proposed expansion justifies the original intent of the central business district creation, Wiley said, “to maintain density of the downtown.” It also dissuade’s developers from making service parking where business expansion and growth can occur.

Expansion westbound to encompass Second Street north fits the theory of the central business district formation, Wiley explained.

Mayor Gabriel J. Campana said from a planning perspective the expansion would be a catalyst for redevelopment on that side of the city. Central business district buildings don’t require parking requirements and until the change occurs Logue remains at a standstill on developing the vacant building, the mayor told the Sun-Gazette.

The commission also reviewed a request for conditional use from Roads to Freedom to build a 24-unit apartment building at its Center for Independent Living facility at 24 E. Third St. The facility requires conditional use because it is in the eastern part of the central business district.


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