New land owners run into zoning restrictions

Montour County Planning Director Greg Molter outlines proposed changes in zoning in Anthony and Liberty townships during the county commissioners meeting Tuesday. 

DANVILLE — People buying land from Talen Energy found they can't do much with the land because it is zoned for public and semi-public use for recreational purposes.

On recommendations by a zoning ordinance committee, the Montour County Planning Commission approved rezoning some land in Anthony Township and changing the zoning maps.

The county commissioners held a public hearing Tuesday on the proposed changes, which include the former Liberty-Valley Country Club in Liberty Township. The changes will be advertised and the commissioners will make a decision later.

Planning commission Director Greg Molter said the former country club has been deteriorating for many years and has been for sale.

About 25 people filled the commissioners' meeting room and most were there about the zoning changes.

Molter said he expects Talen, which owns the Montour Preserve and nearby power plant, to sell off more land. 

Molter said the zoning ordinance committee recommended land owned by Ryan Ossant north of the west branch Chillisquaque Creek, from Fox Hollow Road to the northern boundary of land owned by Keith Flecther, be designated as zoned woodland.

Land owned by Flecther and Craig High, south and east of the west branch Chillisquaque Creek to McCormick Road and Route 44, would be designated as zoned agriculture.

Land surrounding Lake Chillisquaque, at the Montour Preserve to the northern border of the parcel owned by J.L. Moyer & Sons on Magargle Road and east from McCormick Road to Sportsman Road, would remain zoned for public-semi-public use, he said.

Land owned by J.L. Moyer & Sons, Carl Slater and Jeff Heller, south of the Moyer parcel to the Derry Township border and east from the Limestone Township border to the Columbia County border, would be designated as zoned agriculture, he said.

In Liberty Township, where the zoning hearing board previously issued a variance to subdivide the farmhouse and clubhouse into two separate lots to be used as residential parcels, the committee recommended the land be zoned as agriculture in an effort to eliminate further requests for variances and to promote a more productive use of the land, Molter said.

Molter said a home can be constructed on two acres in a woodland zoned district and a home can be built on one acre in an agriculture district.

He didn't have estimates on how much land was involved with the Anthony Township changes. The Liberty Township change involves 76 acres.

Attorney Rob Davidson, who represents the six clients that bought former Talen land, attended the hearing. 

Molter said solar commercial use would not be allowed in agriculture or woodland areas. Someone requesting that would have to seek a variance from the zoning hearing board, he said. Davidson said that wouldn't be the case with the people he represents.