Plymouth Township staff is currently working on a draft "Limited Professional Office Ordinance" that would rezone sections of Butler Pike and Plymouth Road near their intersection in Cold Point, to allow for some office uses.
Plymouth Council said the draft ordinance is being prepared after about twenty residents in the area approached the township and asked for the changes.
"This was generated from some of the residents-- that's what brought this on," said council chair Sheldon Simpson at Monday's workshop meeting. "They can't sell their properties, but don't want to raise a family there."
As currently zoned, office use is not allowed in the district, as either a principle or secondary use. With the area's character changing with the development of the Cold Point properties at Butler Pike and Flourtown Road, the ordinance appears to offer a residents another way to sell their homes, while keeping the historic feel of the area intact.
Township Planning consultant Ken Amey said that the ordinance is designed to keep out large or disruptive offices.
"The [directives were] to restrict the kinds of uses that would be permitted, limit the size of the office that would be allowed so there wouldn't be large offices with multiple employees and a lot of traffic, and another was to limit the size of signs," Amey said.
As currently drafted, the ordinance would allow for engineers, architects, teachers, accountants, planners, lawyers, or realtors to open offices in the district. Medical offices were removed from an earlier draft out of concern from council that they would draw too many visitors, Amey said.
Amey told council the current draft would limit the size of an office to 2,000-square-feet, and reduce maximum signage to six-square-feet. Signs could also be no more than four feet in height and could not be backlit, Amey said.
While staff wouldn't specify the addresses being considered for rezoning, they did say the district would roughly extend down Butler Pike from Militia Hill Road, and west onto Plymouth Road for some distance. Certain properties may also be left out, said Zoning Officer David Conroy.
The five-member council seemed comfortable with the current draft, although councilman Vince Gillen asked if portions of Germantown Pike could be included. Staff said that they would look into the roadway's current zoning specifications, but Simpson was wary of setting precedent.
"The only problem with Germantown Pike is that it gets to be one of these Pandora's boxes where you don't know where it stops," Simpson said. "Then you have Belvoir Road doing the same thing…then Clover."
Solicitor Thomas Speers responded that Council has the ability to pass such zoning ordinances wherever they see fit.
"It's not spot zoning… It's a choice you get to make you when you write a zoning ordinance," Speers said.
Council said they would consult with the area's residents about the draft before advertising it for adoption at a legislative meeting next year.