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| Existing Zoning | Citywide Land Use Plan Goals |
| Citywide 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.

Existing Zoning

The City’s 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:

  • R-1 Single-Family Residential - allows single-family homes, apartments and conversion of existing homes for apartments.
  • R-1A 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.
  • C-1 Neighborhood Commercial - is designed for small retailers and personal service businesses that serve the adjacent neighborhood
  • 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 industrial uses.
  • S-1 Special Purpose - permits single-family homes, strip mining and forestry on Sharp Mountain.



Citywide 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.

Pottsville has only limited undeveloped land. Therefore, the City must:

a) make the best use of each area of undeveloped land,

b) stress redevelopment of vacant and underutilized areas, and

c) make sure development regulation stimulate, not discourage, desirable forms of development.

Pottsville has 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.
  • Strictly 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.
  • Establish special zoning regulations to help preserve historic Garfield Square.
  • 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.
  • Provide 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. Top of Page

Citywide Land Use Plan Recommendations

The accompanying 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 guide.

  • Low Density Residential
    Low 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 Residential
    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
    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 side.
  • Residential Office
    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 distinctive locations.
  • Institutional Residential
    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
    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.
  • Central Business District
    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.

Pottsville 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.

  • General Commercial
    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.
  • Light Industrial
    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.
  • General Industrial
    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.
  • Conservation
    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 acquisition.

While 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.


| Introduction | Population | Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization |
| Citywide Land Use Plan | Economic Development | Central Business District Revitalization |
| Transportation | Community Facilities and Services | Action Program | Tables |