Township Revises Laws on Parking Spaces, Accessory Buildings

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – Two recent land use concerns in Lower Pottsgrove – regarding the future size of parking lot spaces or “stalls” for commonly driven vehicles, and an increased interest among property owners in erecting “accessory” buildings to house small workshops or recreational equipment – were addressed Monday (Dec. 6, 2021) in a law change approved by the township Board of Commissioners.

Parking space sizes

For future land development proposals only, the minimum size of parking stalls created in the township will grow by 6 inches in width, from 9-1/2 feet wide by 18 feet deep, to 10 feet wide by 18 feet deep. The additional width, determined after research and comparison to other municipalities’ standards, was deemed enough to accommodate the larger size of newly manufactured pick-up trucks and vans.

Parking spaces must be reasonably level, are limited to no more than one vehicle, and cannot include area set aside for passageways, driveways or other means of traffic circulation or access, the law specifies. Its adoption had been advocated by board president Bruce Foltz, himself the owner of a large pick-up.

Accessory building additions

Seeing the parking space change as an opportunity to solve another subdivision and land development law problem, commissioners agreed to also amend related portions of the township code dealing with accessory buildings.

A growing number of property owners have told the township, primarily by submission of new land use plans and requests for building permits, that they’re interested in adding stand-alone structures. Many are intended to store trailers, recreational vehicles, lawn equipment, or pool supplies. Some are used as workshops or tool sheds. Home-based business and agricultural uses also are allowed.

Their use and size are governed by the township zoning code, and generally require zoning hearing board approval as a special exception.

Commissioners agreed to amend the code to enlarge the allowable size for exception-eligible accessory buildings from more than a minimum 600 square feet in area, to between a minimum of 600 to 1,000 square feet or less. The structures also are subject to setback requirements, the zoning hearing board’s determination of suitability for the neighborhood, a building’s “visual impact,” and landscaping.

The intent, township Manager Ed Wagner said, was to avoid a proliferation of pole barn-sized buildings that may have qualified for special exceptions under the earlier section of the ordinance.

Commissioners’ unanimously agreed to the changes during their first board meeting of the month. It was preceded by a 6:45 p.m. public hearing, during which no one spoke to oppose the measure.

Photo by Vitalik Radko via Deposit Photos, used under license