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PALMER TWP., Pa. – Palmer Township's proposed new zoning ordinance is finally ready. All 303 pages of it. 

The township will hold a public meeting from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 19, at the municipal building meeting room for residents, business owners and others to learn about the ordinance, ask questions and give input. No vote is scheduled. 

The township has made a copy of the draft available online.

Zoning ordinances set land-use policy for a municipality — for example determining whether a tract of land can be developed for commercial, residential or other use, and how large a project can be. The proposed online ordinance is not final and is subject to changes. 

Definitions are an important part of zoning, and Palmer's version is laden with them. Precision is important.

An item about "adult-oriented entertainment" includes this description: "Flagellation or torture by or upon a person clad in undergarments, a mask or bizarre costume, or the condition of being fettered." The term "bizarre" itself is not defined. 

Less controversial terminology involves descriptions of animal cemeteries and dumpsters. 

The zoning review has been in the works since 2019 and was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and by the concerns of neighborhood groups.

Warehouses, always a hot-button issue, are a concern. Earlier this year, some residents asked for a moratorium on development and a speeding-up of the zoning review. The board of supervisors did not act on the request. 

The draft, prepared by staff, a committee of residents and a consultant, cites objectives that are routine in zoning ordinances: protection of farmland; prevention of blight and overcrowding, and "to promote the public health, safety and general welfare." 

Final votes on the proposed ordinance and any amendments to it will be made by the township's board of supervisors. 

To attend the meeting, enter from the parking lot behind the police station on Weller Place. The meeting room is on the ground floor. Comments may also be made online via Facebook. 


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