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Copyright 2014 Lancaster Newspapers, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Intelligencer Journal/New Era (Lancaster, Pennsylvania)
Marcella Peyre-Ferry Correspondent

Solanco Little League got most of what it wanted when the Colerain Township Zoning Hearing Board handed down a decision on the league's variance application Jan. 8.

The zoning hearing included an appeal of the township zoning officer's ruling that, in using the fields and buildings of the Solanco Little League complex after October, the league has been in violation of the conditions of operation imposed in 1997.

The zoning board's initial decision upheld the zoning officer's ruling in regard to use of the fields, but sided with the league in saying the group can use the buildings on the property year-round.

Going forward, because of a variance granted by the zoning board, the league is now permitted to use the fields as well as the buildings year-round, and a secondary youth league other than Little League may also use the fields. A request to expand the use of the complex's speaker system was denied.

A new condition added by the zoning board requires the Little League board of directors to meet annually with the Colerain Township Supervisors for an annual review.

"The important thing in my opinion, once a year they have to come before the board and go over what they're doing up there," supervisor Walter Todd said at the Jan. 15 township meeting.

"This way, it's going to be very clear. We shouldn't have the animosity from misunderstanding that we had."

At their annual reorganization meeting Jan. 6, the supervisors appointed Mark Deimler as the Township's new zoning officer and engineer.

He was present at the township meeting, at which the board advised him that they hope to make changes in their ordinances that could help cut down the number of variance requests.

"It seems to us that we need to update some of our regulations to clarify and lay out what it is we really want to see here," Todd said, adding that he would like to make changes at the same time the new stormwater management ordinance is being completed.

"Hopefully we can accommodate some real change," he added.

The biggest issues for the board are making changes to elder cottage housing opportunity (ECHO) housing regulations, setting a minimum lot size for agriculture-related businesses and requiring better documentation when making a variance request.

"I think in the ag district, if somebody wants to set up a harness shop or welding shop or whatever, they should have at least 10 acres," supervisor Sam Reinhart said.

"We have found there has been a pretty big conflict with neighbors when the lots seem awfully small," Todd added.

"It seems to me that by allowing numerous shops on small acreage, we're changing the whole complexion of our municipality," Todd said.

In the case of ECHO housing, Todd explained that putting on an addition for a family member is allowed, but once that person moves or passes away, the addition is supposed to be removed.

"Does it really hurt if a nonfamily member moves in there?" Todd wondered.

In other business, the board approved the purchase of a new John Deere backhoe.

The cost will be $115,976, to be paid through a five-year lease agreement.

"I think it's a piece we've needed in our township for a long time," Todd said.

For more Solanco area news, visit:


January 22, 2014




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