High-density zoning proposal nipped in the bud

| 14 Sep 2016 | 06:11

By Frances Ruth Harris
— Days ahead of the Sept. 12 Milford borough council meeting, Facebook buzzed about big zoning changes in the works that would allow more than one family in a house in the residential district.
Tag-team Matthew Osterberg, Pike County Commissioner, and Bo Fean, the former Milford mayor, squashed Councilman David Wineberg's proposed high-density zoning. Borough Hall was packed with people ready to knock down the proposal and defend their way of life.
They said the proposed zoning change would allow garage apartments on 9,600 square feet of property, and affect just about every house in the borough.
Those present listened respectfully while Wineberg advocated for his idea, which he said would increase business in the community.
Mayor Sean Strub was absent.
Fean said the changes would cause irreparable damage to the residential district. Currently, high-density housing is allowed only in the commercial district, he said.
"This is where it belongs." said Fean.
Wineberg argued that the borough can’t increase its tax base without increasing the density required to foster more commerce.
Osterberg and Fean both said the idea has been floated in the past — and shot down for many reasons. They both cited the need for more costly sewer infrastructure, and the problem of increased crime that accompanies greater density. Osterberg said a study was needed before taking on such a drastic zoning change. Others said residents need to vote on a matter that would change the borough forever.
Everyone agreed sewage is a major consideration whenever density is increased. But the biggest objection was in support of single-family houses as a way of life.
Wineberg said he is concerned about those needing a place in the borough to live. But his proposal died when Osterberg said, "People needed to know who they’re waking up next door to each day."
The entire room seemed to exhale in a sigh of relief.
Editor's note: David Wineberg takes exception to our reporting in his letter submitted Sept. 16: "Article makes me look defeated in a battle I had no intention of fighting": http://bit.ly/2cwLjBM. The Courier regrets the misspelling of Mr. Wineberg's name in the original article.