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Critical Recharge Overlay focuses on conserving water


Striving to make it easier for its property owners to make improvements, while maintaining its core commitment to natural resource protection, Tinicum Township has amended its zoning ordinance to provide revised standards for its Critical Recharge Overlay District.

The action was taken by a unanimous vote of its board of supervisors at their Dec. 17 public meeting.

The township’s overlay districts provide for additional regulation to that offered by its underlying zoning districts, which distinguish among categories such as residential, commercial, and planned industrial.

The Critical Recharge Overlay reflects the township’s commitment to preserving its drinking water supply, a commitment that is also represented by its participation in the joint Bridgeton-Nockamixon-Tinicum groundwater committee. The new ordinance revision recognizes an interest in protecting smaller properties from undue burden from regulation that is designed to assure prudent water draw from larger properties that are typically more likely to be candidates for subdivision development.

The ordinance revision breaks properties into area categories of two acres or less; two to five acres; five to nine acres; and greater than 9 acres. Maximum impervious surfaces within the Critical Recharge Overlay are to be in accordance with particular requirements for each category, with the proviso that allowable impervious in each one shall not be less than the maximum square footage of impervious in the preceding category.

For parcels 2 acres or less in area, the maximum allowable impervious guideline “shall remain the amount allowed in the underlying zoning district.” For two to five acres, the max allowable “shall be 85 percent of the maximum allowed in the underlying zoning district;” for 5 to 9 acres, 75 percent; and for greater than 9 acres, 50 per cent.

Also at the Dec. 17 meeting, in an effort to help recognize the uniqueness of each building site, supervisors adopted an ordinance amendment to provide revised standards for site building capacity calculation. The new calculation is to be “part of the initial plan submitted by the developer or landowner to determine the net buildable site area.”

In a previous recent action, supervisors adopted an amendment to the township’s sewage management ordinance, which was designed to help minimize problems caused by “inadequate management of individual and community sewage systems (that) increases surface water pollution, groundwater contamination, the potential of public health problems, and general nuisance conditions.”