Decisions needed on multiple questions about development

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:48

    FRANKLIN-Still uncertain about what it wants for the former Zinc Co. property off of Main Street, the planning board opted Monday night to send the matter back to its own subcommittee for further work. The proposed new zoning ordinance, which deals with issues such as age-restricted housing, will be reworked by the subcommittee for possible final adoption at the board's Aug. 16 meeting. "Anything in this plan we will be discussing," said board vice-chairman Mark Zschack, who presided in the absence of chairman John Cholminski. "But we'll be focusing on the issues related to the zinc company site." The property is intended to be the centerpiece of the borough's Gateway Plan, which has long been under discussion. Officials must decide where to place residential and commercial uses in relation to the former change house, which is expected to be the hub of the project. The 27-foot high change house, where miners once showered after a day of work, is expected to be renovated into a commercial structure. But, as the house is located on higher land than the lower level of the tract, some board members are concerned that buildings on the lower portion might sore 80 feet to match the change house's altitude. The Heyer and Gruel master plan, adopted by the borough over a year ago, strongly suggested that no other building should be taller than the change house. One planning official cautioned that the board should not make its decision solely on what it thinks others may want, since plans can change. Another issue is the possibility of connecting the buildings so that they can be entered at one level and exited at another, a design that the borough's director of planning and community, Jim Kilduff, called "transitional." The board also debated on exactly where specific commercial structures should be located, as well as whether or not similar businesses should be grouped together or spread amongst other venues on the site. "In all honesty, I don't see how you can adopt something based on the discussion we're having now," stated board attorney Glenn Gavan. "You've got to decide what you want."