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Cranberry Township makes adjustments to warehouse zoning ordinance

CRANBERRY TWP — After holding a public hearing, supervisors voted unanimously to make several changes to the zoning ordinance covering warehouse distribution centers and warehouse requirements and regulations during the township’s agenda-setting meeting May 30.

“We have found the need to adjust the zoning ordinance, mainly for protections of the residents connected to these kind of facilities,” said Ron Henshaw, director of Planning and Development Services during the public hearing.

Henshaw said it was time for the township to update the “ambiguous” definitions of distribution warehouse center and warehouse, as well update codes to ensure safety of employees and those living nearby.

“Our board of supervisors expect the staff to keep track of what we call emerging trends,” Hewshaw said. “We try to monitor what’s coming next and what happened recently, and internally we were thinking about this, and we have not updated this ordinance for quite some time.”

The township had defined a distribution warehouse center as “an establishment primarily engaged in the receipt, storage and distribution of goods, products, cargo and materials, including transshipment by rail or motor vehicle.”

The updated definition includes pickup services, fulfillment centers and bulk-mail centers in the definition of a distribution warehouse center.

The township also expanded what it considers to be a warehouse. Formerly defined as a structure primarily used for the storage of goods and materials, the updated version expands warehouses to be “a facility designed to store raw material or bulk inventory that is typically not ready-to-sell directly to retailers or consumers. A warehouse is typically designed to store inventory for long periods of time beyond 6 months and is not directly accessible to the public.”

The board of supervisors also voted to include several new regulations in the ordinance that would impact developments in the future.

“The board wants to make sure they are protecting the public from uses that may have potential impact,” Henshaw said.

The updated regulations include making sure newly established distribution warehouse centers have a 250-foot buffer between residential zoning districts, requiring loading docks to take measurements to help mitigate loud sounds and prohibits the emissions of dust, dirt, fly ash, fumes, vapors or gases.

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