PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsutawney Borough Council addressed zoning issues of several residents who spoke during the council’s meeting this week.
Geoffrey Brackman, owner of Brackman Chevrolet on East Mahoning Street sought the re-zoning of a lot he purchased at the corner of Dunlap and Lane avenues. He bought the lot to use for employee parking but found that he could not do that because it is zoned residential.
“I found out that, because I have a highway commercial business adjacent, employees cannot park on the residential lot. It’s against the ordinances that we have right now,” Brackman said.
He asked that the lot be rezoned to highway commercial, or that a variance be granted to allow its use for parking. Brackman said he had met with the zoning and planning committee already, and they referred him to the council. The borough will send letters to adjacent property owners to begin the rezoning process.
Katie Hind also sought the rezoning of her property. She operates a small pet grooming business, mostly as a hobby, and wants to move the business into her house. She does one dog at a time, and works by herself. A neighbor complained when rezoning letters were issued, so she was denied.
“I don’t want issues, I just want to continue doing my hobby,” Hind said.
Council member and Planning and Zoning Committee member Michele Lorenzo spoke on the issue, saying Punxsutawney needs to be more small business friendly, pointing to Traditional Neighborhood Development, a development style that mixes land uses on a compact neighborhood scale to keep amenities within walking distance of residences.
“You can have small businesses, low impact with people living residentially,” Lorenzo said. “People are having a hard time to survive. Why should we hold back in helping them make a living? It’s wrong.”
Council members agreed to look into options for Hind and her business.
Kevin Cielo addressed the council about the alley between Gimmicks and Sheetz complaining that cars park there though that is prohibited. The borough will place no parking signs in the alley so the police can enforce the prohibition.