CITYWIDE LAND USE PLAN
Existing Zoning |
Land Use Plan Goals |
Land Use Plan Recommendations |
The Citywide Land
Use Plan describes the types and locations of residential,
business and other land uses that Pottsville should encourage.
Through land use planning, the City should strive to ensure
adjacent land uses are compatible and land use conflicts are
minimized. This involves encouraging a greater mix of uses in
some areas and promoting separation between different types of
uses in other areas. For instance, having everyday goods and
services available within walking distance of your home should
be part of urban living. At the same time, residential
neighborhoods should be buffered from the noise and traffic
associated with more intensive commercial uses and industry.
Zoning Ordinance is the major regulatory tool available to
influence the use of land in Pottsville. But because most of the
City was developed before the Zoning Ordinance took effect,
zoning in Pottsville primarily affects redevelopment. The City’s
current Zoning Ordinance divides Pottsville into the following
ten zoning districts:
Single-Family Residential - allows single-family homes,
apartments and conversion of existing homes for apartments.
Single-Family Residential - is very similar to R-1 but
permits slightly higher densities.
- R-2 Two-Family
Residential - permits the same uses as R-1 and R1A plus
twins homes (both side-by-side twins and one unit over the
other). Permitted densities are slightly higher than R-1A.
Neighborhood Commercial - is designed for small retailers
and personal service businesses that serve the adjacent
- C-2 Community
Commercial - allows business uses that market to the entire
City, not just the immediate neighborhood.
- C-3 Central
Business District - permits the same uses as C-2 but allows
more impervious surface coverage and higher structures, as
befits a downtown area.
- C-4 Heavy
Commercial - accommodates larger, highway-oriented
commercial uses that target people driving through the City
on Route 61 in addition to local customers.
- M-1 Light
Manufacturing - accommodates a variety of commercial uses
and light industry.
- M-2 Heavy
Manufacturing - permits some commerce and a full range of
- S-1 Special
Purpose - permits single-family homes, strip mining and
forestry on Sharp Mountain.
MAP 2 - ZONING MAP
MAP 3 - EXISTING
Land Use Plan Goals
Land use planning
is directly related to zoning but does not regulate development
on a parcel-by parcel basis as zoning does. The Land Use Plan
should provide the rationale for more specific zoning
regulations by describing what the City’s policies on
development and redevelopment should be. The Land Use Plan
should then go on to identify what changes are necessary to make
sure these policies are put into practice.
only limited undeveloped land. Therefore, the City must:
a) make the
best use of each area of undeveloped land,
redevelopment of vacant and underutilized areas, and
c) make sure
development regulation stimulate, not discourage, desirable
forms of development.
stable neighborhoods, a well-defined central business district,
historic areas, very modern hospitals and a mix of old and new
industry. City government, local non-profits and the business
community strive to be progressive while still honoring the
region’s heritage. In keeping with this spirit, the City’s
land use policies need to be up-to-date and the City’s Zoning
Ordinance should be modernized to help guide both the future
development and conservation of Pottsville. The following goals
should be the basis of these changes:
- Preserve the
City’s lower density neighborhoods by establishing areas
that only permit single-family homes and other areas that
permit only single-family and twin homes.
regulate the conversion of homes into apartments to avoid
excessive density, limit parking conflicts and complement
the City’s home ownership initiatives.
- Refine the
existing hierarchy of commercial zoning districts that links
the types of uses permitted in each district to the uses’
primary market areas.
special zoning regulations to help preserve historic
- Use zoning to
guide the physical direction of any future hospital
expansions in Pottsville.
- Increase the
viability of business areas and allow more flexibility there
by encouraging market rate residential uses in commercial
zoning districts, particularly in the downtown.
guidance on how Sharp Mountain could be safely developed for
residential, recreation and conservation uses.
- Amend the City’s
Zoning Ordinance to include a wider range of modern growth
management techniques and redevelopment incentives.
Land Use Plan Recommendations
Future Land Use Plan map illustrates the land use categories
that should be the basis of amendments to Pottsville’s Zoning
Ordinance. The purpose of each land use area and the types of
uses that should be allowed there are summarized below. In some
cases, desirable density levels are also cited. Future Zoning
Ordinance amendments should address all additional specifics
using these descriptions and the Future Land Use Plan map as a
- Low Density
Density Residential areas would be for single-family
detached homes only, on lots of 7,500 square feet or larger.
Limiting these areas to single-family homes will ensure
portions of the City continue to attract people who are not
interested in residing in a highly urbanized environment.
Yet the permitted density will allow compact, economically
viable subdivisions. Conversion of homes into apartments
would not be permitted. Low Density Residential areas are
only designated west of 10th Street.
- Medium Density
Medium Density Residential areas would allow for a greater
variety of housing types than Low Density Residential areas
at somewhat higher densities. The goal is to provide for a
wider choice of housing types but still foster
owner-occupied neighborhoods where "one home on one
lot" is the prevalent case. Single-family detached
homes, side-by-side twins and townhouses area would be
allowed at densities ranging from around 4,000 square feet
to 6,000 square feet per unit. Neither apartments nor
conversion of homes to apartments would be allowed. The
proposed Medium Density Residential areas are in various
locations, including in the western portion of the City,
areas near the downtown and on the East side.
General Residential areas would permit all housing types,
including apartments. Proposed minimum lot sizes per
dwelling unit would range from 4,500 square feet for
single-family detached homes to 2,500 square feet per unit
for apartments. Conversions of homes into apartments would
be allowed but restricted to large structures (minimum 3,000
to 3,500 square feet of living space). General residential
areas would be designated in most of the City’s higher
density neighborhoods--mostly north of Market Street,
between 12th and Centre streets, and on the east
The Residential Office area is proposed to help preserve the
historic environment of Garfield Square. Single family
detached and single-family attached homes are permitted, as
are small offices with one (or a very limited number) of
tenants. Allowing specialized retail shops such as antique
sellers should be considered. It may also be desirable to
allow upper floor apartments where a building’s ground
floor is in commercial use. Special zoning would be an
additional way to help conserve one of the City’s most
Institutional Residential areas are proposed to guide future
expansion of the two hospitals into appropriate areas
without undue encroachment into established residential
neighborhoods. Hospital related uses, such as clinics,
medical offices and parking, would be permitted in
conjunction with the full range of residential uses allowed
in General Residential areas. While successful hospitals
need room to grow, this growth should be managed so that
vertical growth is encouraged over horizontal growth. In
this way, land consumption will be limited, conflicts with
surrounding areas will be reduced and the City will keep as
much land as possible on its tax rolls.
Neighborhood Commercial areas are proposed along confined
stretches of West Market Street corridor to serve the
convenience retail and personal service needs of adjacent
residential neighborhoods. For example, Neighborhood
Commercial areas would accommodate drug stores, barbers,
beauty shops, corner groceries and dry cleaners. However,
motels, multi-tenant offices, auto supply stores, stereo
stores, clothing retailers and other businesses with a wider
market area would be directed to other parts of the City.
The Pottsville Central Business District is the government,
business and cultural hub of Schuylkill County. Zoning in
the downtown should accommodate a wide variety of retail
service, office and other non-residential uses. All of the
commercial uses permitted in the Neighborhood Commercial
described above should be allowed. Hotels, theaters, general
retailers, offices, financial institutions and business
services are some examples of additional uses that should be
accommodated. Auto-oriented uses, such as gas stations, auto
repair shops, drive-through restaurants, car washes and
similar establishments should not be permitted.
should also follow the lead of many other cities by making a
special effort to attract residents downtown. Attracting more
people to live downtown will enhance the area’s vitality by
creating a more 24-hour presence in the area. It may also
stimulate demand for certain goods and services not now
available there. Pottsville’s Historic Architectural Review
Board, PADCO, the new Main Street program and several other
initiative help facilitate the growth and preservation of the
City’s downtown. Encouraging market rate apartments and
other residential uses in the central business district will
complement these important efforts.
The General Commercial area provides land for commercial
uses best suited along the Route 61 corridor. The
auto-oriented uses identified above are the primary examples
(gas stations, auto repair, drive-through restaurants and
car washes). Auto dealerships, lumber stores, home centers,
beverage distributors, and planned shopping centers are also
appropriate in this location.
Pottsville should continue to welcome appropriately located,
environmentally responsible industry. The proposed Light
Industrial areas are intended for planned, mixed use
business parks such as the one that exists at the western
edge in the Westwood Road/ Edgewood Road area. Light
Industrial areas would also accommodate stand-alone high
tech facilities and other business uses not likely to
generate significant noise or truck traffic.
The General Industrial area is proposed for the Peacock
Street/ Railroad Street corridor, which is where the City’s
heavy manufacturing zoning district and one of its Keystone
Opportunity zones are located. The General Industrial area
is important in meeting Pottsville’s responsibility under
State law to provide some land for all legitimate land uses.
All of the uses permitted in the Light Industrial area
should be permitted in the General Industrial area. In
addition, more traditional, truck-dependent industrial uses
would be accommodated in the General Industrial Area.
The Conservation District addresses the portion of Sharp
Mountain within Pottsville. The primary use of the area
should be for conservation and passive recreation because of
the land’s natural state, steep slopes, mine subsidence
problems and woodland cover. A natural preserve, perhaps
with a multi-purpose trail, would be very appropriate,
provided engineering analysis is undertaken to identify the
specific areas where subsidence problems should prohibit
public access. Permanent conservation of this area could be
overseen by an experienced conservation organization such as
the Wildlands Conservancy and various state grants for
recreation and conservation could be used to assist in
conservation should be the overall future land use theme on
Sharp Mountain, residential uses are also appropriate in
selected areas. Single family homes and a condominium project
have been recently constructed adjacent to existing
neighborhoods. The lower portions of the mountain could be
used for housing provided the owner can show proof that the
property is physically stable and that storm water and utility
matters can be satisfactorily addressed. Ordinarily, low
density, single-family homes are the primary types of
residential development envisioned in conservation areas.
However, well planned, higher density developments may also be
appropriate in very selective locations, especially if
significant donations of public open space can be acquired in
exchange for allowing higher densities.
MAP 4 - FUTURE
LAND USE PLAN
| Population |
Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization |
Land Use Plan | Economic
Development | Central
Business District Revitalization |
Facilities and Services | Action
Program | Tables