BY STACI WILSON
With several businesses coming to the borough looking to open doors in residentially zoned areas, Montrose Council discovered the town has nothing on the books to address those properties or situations.
Jodi Clary, who plans to buy local flower shop “The Lily Pad,” and hopes to move the shop from its Church St. location to a home that is adjacent to the town’s business district.
That home, however, is in a residential zone.
And Clary’s request is just one of three that have recently come before the council and the planning and zoning boards.
Council member Sean Granahan said, “You’ve forced us to take a look at the issue. We need to put an appropriate conditional use ordinance in place. Then we can address the situation.”
Sue Maxey, current owner of The Lily Pad, told council rental rates in the business district are “astronomical.”
Councilman Tom LaMont warned that if the council extended the business district all rents would go up.
“What I wouldn’t want to happen is to have some of the historical properties on Church St. cut up into offices,” said LaMont.
LaMont said the council needed to think about how to control the town’s growth.
“Businesses like yours,” Lamont said to Clary, “are the kind of businesses we would want to branch into the residential areas.”
Council president Todd Chamberlain acknowledged that the borough does need to grow.
“We need to do something but we need to do it right,” Chamberlain said. “We are proactive enough to try to remedy the situation.”
Granahan recommended council deny the existing application for variances, without prejudice, so the business owners can make the request again once the appropriate ordinance provisions are put in place by the borough.
He also recommended the borough hire zoning consultant Carson Helfrich to help work out the borough’s plan.
Montrose Mayor John Wilson asked the council to consider placing a “Stop Here on Red” sign – for eastbound traffic approaching the red light on Rt. 706.
He said he recently witnessed an accident caused by a truck that had traveled too far into the intersection.
Councilman Craig Reimel said trucks turning onto South Main St. from Rt. 706 west cause a bottleneck at the light.
Reimel said that the large trucks have to swing into the far left lane to make the turn onto South Main.
The council plans to meet with United Fire Company representatives.
Reimel said state law requires the council to meet with the fire company at least once a year.
Council approved the fire police roster submitted to the borough by Mark Wood, fire police captain.
Council also gave its approvals for the Chocolate and Wine Festival and the Memorial Day Parade.
Granahan was appointed as the council’s representative to the Montrose Restoration Committee.
LaMont was appointed to the police, personnel and ordinance committees.
Council also extended its deadline to accept applications for borough police positions.
Officer Andrew Genneken was promoted from patrolman to the position of corporal.
Work on the proposed Oil and Gas Exploration ordinance was tabled until the Feb. 21 council meeting.