STROUDSBURG — Stroudsburg borough council members have their sights set high, as they are scheduled to vote on a new zoning ordinance that would allow taller buildings to be built in the downtown area.
The buildings lining Main Street in downtown all stand between one to four stories high, but people in Stroudsburg have the chance to weigh in on a proposed change in the zoning ordinance Tuesday night.
Stroudsburg borough council has its sights set exactly five stories high. Members are set to vote on a zoning ordinance that would change the height restrictions for downtown buildings from four stories to five.
Stroudsburg’s borough manager said the proposed ordinance is years in the making and would only amend the zoning already in place.
“Basically, we have the underlying zoning that will still remain in existence, but if the overlay district is adopted, then there will be other options for people who are doing development,” said Stroudsburg borough manager Cathryn Thomas.
Developers looking to transform several different lots downtown could benefit, including the fire-damaged Carlton House on the corner of Eighth and Main Street.
To build new, many downtown businesses say developers want to build up higher than four stories to turn a profit.
“That is what we’ve heard. Clearly they may need to build up to have more revenue,” said Josephine’s Fleur-De-Lis Owner Martha Loomis.
According to the ordinance, a fifth floor would have to sit back far enough that someone standing on the street couldn’t see it, and follow historic district ordinances.
Martha Loomis, who owns Josephine’s Fleur-De-Lis in Stroudsburg, said she’s more concerned about parking with the possibility for new apartments in those higher buildings.
“Each apartment will need two spots and right now we don’t have that capacity in town. We need parking for the new buildings,” said Loomis.
Many folks in Stroudsburg say they don’t care whether or not buildings are four or five stories high; they just want to see vacant lots go away.
“I really don’t have a concern one way or the other. The only thing that would worry me, and I think it’s been taken care of, is that they put in an attractive building and that it blends in with the rest of downtown,” said Brite Cleaners owner Charles Hoffman.
Hoffman said new taller buildings replacing vacant lots surrounding him may be a “tall-order,” but one he would welcome.
“If they can put in a building and bring more people and people would be happy, functional for the town, then it’s good for all of us,” said Hoffman.
The public hearing on the zoning change began at 7 p.m. in Stroudsburg and the vote is scheduled to follow.
The borough manager says if the ordinance doesn’t pass, developers could still submit requests to build higher than four stories on a case-by-case basis.