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Kiski Township proposes zoning changes to allow for business district along Route 56

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The Kiski Township Planning Commission and township supervisors will hold public hearings in the next two weeks to amend the zoning ordinance to create business districts along Route 56.

The Township is proposing to change the zoning classification of approximately 175 properties along Route 56.

Most are zoned for farming or farming/residential use. They will be changed to the new business district classification.

The new business zoning designation will not change the tax status or tax rates of business zone residents, said Supervisor Chuck Rodnicki.

Rodnicki is also a member of the town’s planning committee, which created the proposed changes.

More than half of about nine miles of Route 56 through the township is a long stretch of undeveloped country road. Small clusters of neat houses fronted by colorful beds of zinnias and coreopsis are, to a lesser extent, broken up by abandoned buildings and small businesses.

As U.S. 56 leaves densely populated areas such as Apollo and leads into the denser countryside of Indiana County, one resident described it as a 17-mile township road that goes nowhere.

Kiski Township supervisors want to change that.

“We want to bring new businesses and housing to the town,” said Rodnicki.

Zoning can open up opportunities for development, but it can also control expansion, he stressed.

“We don’t want to be Pittsburgh or Derry Township,” he said.

The 55-year-old Schultz Sportsman’s Stop on Highway 56 has sold guns and hunting gear to residents for generations, but many are thinking of a change.

Owner Debbie Schulz, a Kiski Township native and Parkes Township resident, will help grow the township.

“We all need to take the time to get information about zoning in business districts. We need to learn more to know if it benefits residents.”

Rodnicki said the township’s zoning ordinance was in force 34 years ago and needed a major update. The Planning Commission has been working on change for about ten years.

The proposed business district will feature low to moderately impacted businesses in terms of noise and traffic, Rodnicky said.

No high impact industrial business. They are confined to industrial areas and not along Highway 56, he said.

“The new business district will be managed,” says Rodnicki. “We’re not going to let the machine shop go to a good area.”

Noisy or disruptive moderate-impact businesses, such as animal clinics and shelters, auto and auto repair shops, should be submitted to the township’s planning committee, who will then submit the requirements to the supervisor, Rodnicki said. You must ask for permission to use with.

“Property owners have many protections,” he said. “There’s no such thing as an auto repair shop in a residential area.”

Businesses permitted in the business district include adult day care, art and paper craft shops, art galleries, bakeries, banks, bicycle sales, boat and ship sales, catering and markets, he said. .

Other protections for residents include controlling signs for neighbors who can’t easily pull out bright digital signs, he said.

Bill Baum, who has lived in a house on Route 56 with his wife Cindy for 10 years, said more stores would help residents, especially older people.

“We need a Walmart or something like that,” he said. “Nothing because his Kmart in Allegheny Township has closed.”

The couple will have to go to Harrison, Indiana or Delmont to shop at the bigger stores.

It may be difficult to attract large stores in the immediate vicinity, but Baum said it would help if there were more stores nearby.

More shopping opportunities are valuable for seniors who don’t drive long distances or at all, the couple said.

read the ordinance

A copy of the proposed zoning ordinance is open to the public at Township City Hall at 1222A Old State Road from 8am to 4pm weekdays.

Mary Ann Thomas is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can reach Mary by emailing her at or on her Twitter. .