Montrose Borough Council moved to “clean up” the town’s zoning map Monday night, Oct. 7, by changing several parcels along Grow Avenue from residential to commercial.
The zoning change will allow Susquehanna County Interfaith to move its operations to the United Methodist Church. Under the prior zoning, the church was deemed to be in a residential section and had been granted a conditional use zoning permit.
Several months ago, representatives from the church and Interfaith approached council to see if that use would carry forward if Interfaith were to take over the building. Council asked the parties for patience in the matter as they sought to address zoning in that area.
The site of the former hospital was zoned for commercial use, council members said, but other adjacent properties were not, including parcels formerly owned by the hospital.
Zoning for a total of seven parcels was changed by council despite audience members questioning the safety of the intersection where Grow Avenue, Maple, Bank, and Jessup streets meet.
One attendee said, “It makes sense to have these properties commercial for commerce and the traffic pattern that goes through there,” but added that the increase in traffic for a businesses would increase danger in an “already difficult intersection.”
A Church Street resident said he believed the additional traffic into the parking lot would be a direct threat to public safety, and noted the difficult ingress and egress of the multi-street intersection.
Council President Sean Granahan said the borough has brought up the issue with that intersection to PennDOT on several occasions. He noted that with the re-zoning as a commercial area the state may rethink traffic control for that intersection.
Borough council also approved the a conditional use to its zoning ordinance which will allow the Montrose Bible Conference to add a foyer and entryway to its Lake Avenue dining hall.
The renovation will allow for better accessibility to the facility and between floors of the building.
Following the public hearings on the zoning matters, borough council moved on to its regular meeting agenda.
Council set trick-or-treat hours on Halloween (Thursday, Oct. 31) for 5-8 p.m., with a borough curfew of 9 p.m.
Council also approved a $37,000 contribution to United Fire Company; and $1,000 to the Susquehanna Count Library.
Christmas in Montrose organizers were also granted permission to close down a portion of Maple Street – near the Green – on the Saturday of the event.