Now that Farmington Township is off of the county zoning books, the township's supervisors are forging ahead to develop a process for handling building permit applications.
Chairman Ed Beardsley said that the supervisors will need a meeting to discuss "how to proceed", but he laid out portions of what the process might look like during Tuesday night's meeting at the Lander VFD hall.
Beardsley said building permits in Farmington Township will likely be directed to Secretary June Jones' office where the supervisors will then review them, looking at "common sense" issues. Beardsley said the review will likely include many zoning-like principles.
Applications will then be sent to Building Inspection Underwriters, a multi-state firm with an office in Erie, that specializes in ensuring compliance with the Uniform Construction Code.
Beardsley said the supervisors will look to develop resolutions in the near future to outline the formal procedure that will be followed.
Beardsley was optimistic that decisions on building permits could be made within days, as opposed to weeks or months as before. He also said that zoning changes and building permits approved by the county zoning office before the township was removed from the county ordinance will still be honored by the supervisors.
"We're not going to make your life miserable," Beardsley said, indicating a desire to "make it easier, hopefully."
The Warren County Commissioners' decision to allow Farmington Township to leave county zoning was approved at their meeting last week.
The issue first came before the commissioners in May when they received a letter from the Farmington Township Supervisors requesting the municipality be removed from the county's consolidated zoning ordinance.
The decision followed nearly five months of discussion and meetings regarding the township's request.
The commissioners did not receive a formal petition for removal from the zoning ordinance until August. At their meeting on Aug. 7, the township supervisors approved submission of the petition to the county.
On Sept. 17, a public hearing was held at the Lander Fire Hall to allow public comment on the supervisors' petition to leave county zoning. Opinions on the issue conflicted at the time.
"We can do a better job here in our own municipality," Farmington Township Supervisor Scott Wenzel said at that meeting.
A Farmington Township resident argued, "I see no protection from unwanted development (without zoning)."
According to County Planning Director Dan Glotz, the county zoning ordinance was amended to include Farmington Township following a public hearing in 1969.
As a result of leaving zoning, the supervisors will have to act to implement their own flood plain ordinance. They had been covered under the county flood plain ordinance, which is included in the county's zoning ordinance.