Two Commas Hold Up Fence at Veterans Field
Supervisors will re-advertise an ordinance after a question of semantics arose at a public hearing Tuesday evening.
The revised ordinance would have allowed for the construction of a fence around the township's new $1M soccer fields on Street Road.
But the omission of two commas, to offset a key phrase in the ordinance, could have arguably granted a much wider exception than what was originally intended by the board.
The oversight was noted by supervisors at a public hearing during the board's Tuesday evening meeting.
The verbiage in question currently reads as follows:
An ordinance of the Board of Supervisors of Upper Southampton Township... amending the Upper Southampton Township Zoning Ordinance by exempting all accessory structures with the exception of accessory buildings used in conjunction with public recreational facilities from all setback and height requirements of the underlying zoning district and amending the fence regulations for corner lots in residential districts. (emphasis added)
Supervisor Lola Biuckians said when she read the ordinance it sounded as if exceptions were being granted to all accessory structures, not just those related to public recreation facilities.
"It makes it sound like anything [a resident wants] to put there [they] can, except a building," she said.
Members of the board agreed that the phrase "with the exception of accessory buildings" should be offset by commas. This, they said, would highlight the fact that the exception is intended only for public recreational facilities.
Township Solicitor Donald Williams said in order modify the grammar of the ordinance, supervisors would have to re-advertise the ordinance with the addition of the two commas. Then, discussion of the corrected version could take place at a public hearing after the public had the chance to review the new version.
Supervisors unaminously passed a motion to keep the hearing open until a later date, to be detrmined after the corrected version of the ordinance has been advertised.