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City zoning amendments approved

SUN-GAZETTE FILE PHOTO An aerial view of Williamsport's City Hall.

City Council approved on second reading amendments to the zoning ordinance regarding off-street parking, swimming pools, hedges, fences and walls.

The zoning text amendments happened after speaking with planning commission, zoning hearing board, and officials at Pennsylvania College of Technology and Lycoming College.

For residents putting up privacy fences, the new requirement is to have the finished side facing out, Gary Knarr, city zoning officer said.

Another change is in relation to businesses in light manufacturing zones wanting to put barbed wire on their fences. The barbed wire idea isn’t a nice looking sight and it poses a safety risk, so the compromise is to go from six feet to eight feet chainlink but not barbed wire.

Another section is on obstruction to view. Those with hedges on a corner lot must trim them down enough for pedestrians walking and vehicle safety, Knarr said. These rules are for hedges and privacy fencing on corner lots and driveways, not the rear or back yards of residences, enough to see the oncoming cars, pedestrians and bicyclists, he said.

Another zoning change is a revision regarding swimming pools. The setback was dropped from 10 feet down to five feet from the water’s edge. If the property has a deck on the pool the owner will maintain six foot from the property line.

Finally, there are revisions of off-street parking and loading requirements. Some adjustments were requested for parking spaces for the colleges and for retail parking, Knarr said. Neither college had issues with changing from square footage off-street space requirements to actual employees and students, he said. The proposed change at Penn College, for example, will help in the potential reconfiguration of the Lycoming County transfer station, officials said.

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