Ephrata backs cemetery request BY KIMBERLY MARSELAS, Correspondent
With its cemetery filling faster than anticipated, Meadow Valley Mennonite Church is seeking permission to expand in Ephrata Township.
Jeff Bowlby, an engineer working for the church, asked the township's planning commission on March 26 for its support in adding 2 acres from a nearby farm. That would bring the church's property at Meadow Valley and Rettew Mill roads to 4.65 acres, still below the township's limit of 5 acres for churches in agricultural zones.
Bowlby said the lot add-on would remain farmland for the foreseeable future, with plans to convert it to cemetery plots once the church's current cemetery is full. An additional 25-foot span running behind the church also would leave room to move horse stalls in the future. Bowlby said church officials do not have plans to do any construction and would bring any such plans to the township when they arise.
The planning commission voted to recommend that township supervisors approve the expansion.
At the same meeting, planning commission members recommended an amendment to the township's parkland dedication requirements.
Part of the township's subdivision and land development process requires developers to dedicate land for public use or pay a fee to the township. The revised ordinance would set that fee at $2,000 per lot, rather than varying it based on the land's value.
The change would still allow developers to create parks within new communities, but fees also could fund projects at larger parks within the township. The changes must be advertised and a public hearing held before township supervisors could vote on the revised ordinance.
In another matter, commission members reviewed a list of possible changes to the township's stormwater management plan, some of which will be required to comply with new state regulations.
Township officials also are taking the opportunity to update some out-of-date or cumbersome land development requirements that have led developers to apply repeatedly for exemptions.
Most of the changes would address technical needs such as the required amount of cover over in-ground pipes, distances needed for clear sight lines at intersections and the scale at which plans must be presented.
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