The Moore Township Planning Commission met on Monday, July 26 to discuss proposed amendments to the township’s current warehouse ordinance.
Solicitor David Backenstoe reminded everyone that the township must provide for every legitimate use, and like it or not, warehouses are a legitimate use. Moore Township’s current warehouse ordinance was passed in 2019. Residents began calling for stricter warehouse regulations after a sketch plan for a new warehouse was presented at the June 28 planning commission meeting.
At the direction of the board of supervisors, Backenstoe drafted a new ordinance that he summarized at the meeting.
First, the ordinance updated the definition of warehouse to include distribution and fulfillment centers; during discussion at the meeting, logistics centers were also added under this definition. The new ordinance also changes warehousing from a by-right permitted use to a conditional use, which requires the applicant to comply with additional criteria set by the board of supervisors; it also means the applicant must attend a hearing in front of the board and township residents proving that they are able to meet these requirements.
Other notable differences in the ordinance are increased berm and buffer requirements, lounges for truck drivers, and off-street parking/loading docks.
Per the new ordinance, a 100-foot-wide buffer is required between a warehouse and residential or agricultural zoning areas. The buffer yard will be landscaped with evergreen, deciduous, and flowering trees, in addition to shrubs that are resistant to diesel exhaust; areas not covered with plantings should be covered with grass or similar covering. A 14-foot-high berm and deciduous trees are required in front of the buffer. All of these things are required to screen the warehouse from any nearby homes.
Another concern of many residents was truck drivers idling in the streets and even going to the bathroom on their property. These issues will be eliminated with the newly required lounge for drivers. Backenstoe went on to explain more specific requirements of the lounge, including at a minimum six lounge seats, one 4-person table, restrooms, and vending machines. The ordinance also requires at least one additional amenity including showers, sleeping quarters, and entertainment areas.
Finally, 1.5 parking spaces per employee during peak business hours would be required by the ordinance. The ordinance also states if there is no tenant proposed for the warehouse, applicants must have one parking space for every 500 square feet. Requirements for staging spaces, loading docks, and loading spaces are also included in the ordinance amendments.
The planning commission opened up the floor to allow for comments from its members and township residents. After a short discussion, in which logistics centers were added to the definition of warehouse and truck snow scrapers are to be required at any exit, the planning commission motioned to move the proposed amendments to the board of supervisors for review at their August 4 meeting.
The planning commission will hold their next meeting on Monday, August 23 at 7 p.m. in the Klecknersville Rangers Fire Company building on Mountain View Drive.