READING, Pa. – The Reading Zoning Hearing Board voted Wednesday to approve a request from Reading Area Community College for variances from the elevation requirements of the floodplain as defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
RACC is planning to convert the existing Weitz Hall into the Weitz Healthcare Pavilion, which will allow the school to double its enrollment in its health care program.
The college is located within the commercial-core zoning district, but also lies within the institutional overlay district and within the special flood hazard overlay, as the college sits next to the Schuylkill River.
At last month’s hearing, members of the city administration and City Council testified in favor of granting the variances, saying the new building is essential to the future of health care in Berks County.
The board also voted to approve zoning relief for RACC to expand an existing parking lot at 201 S. Front St. to 274 spaces from the current 57 spaces for the benefit of the more intense use expected at the new Weitz Healthcare Pavilion.
In new hearings, the board heard requests from:
Threshold Rehabilitation Services Inc. for variances from sign regulations in the C-H Commercial Highway zoning district.
Threshold wants to install a two-sided sign at 1000 Lancaster Ave., which would exceed the permitted sizes.
The proposed sign is 27 square feet on each side, while the zoning ordinances only permits 12 square feet per side.
Dakshesh Patel for variances from permitted uses and on-site parking requirements to operate a convenience store to sell coffee and packaged food for off-site consumption at 1500 N. 13th St. in the residential R-2 zoning district and within the Heights historic overlay district.
Parking for the proposed use would require two off-street parking spaces. The site currently has one.
Prior commercial uses at the site included a pharmacy and a floral shop.
Decisions on the new cases are expected April 12.