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Map error prompts meeting in US county

When an error on Upper Moreland’s zoning map paved the way for construction of a house on a much smaller lot than allowed, neighbors were in an uproar.

The house, on a private road off Huntingdon Road, has since been built, but the zoning map – with more than a half dozen additional mistakes – remains.

In an attempt to prevent more problems, the township has scheduled a public hearing to consider an updated and corrected zoning map. A vote on those corrections is not likely to take place for several months, however.

“We’re not changing the zoning; we’re changing the map,” said Township Manager David Dodies.

The township checked the map, prepared by the Montgomery County Planning Commission, after discovering the error that resulted in the removal of about 60 trees and construction of a house. The new property owner was allowed to build because he was the victim of what the township determined was an innocent mistake.

According to John Cover, county planning commission section chief, the land where the house was built was mistakenly marked when the county created its first digitized zoning map for the township in 1992. He said the three-acre R district was outlined on the digitized map, but the R label was accidentally omitted.

When a colorized map was made in 2000, the district – with five lots zoned R – was mistakenly included in the 1-acre R-1 zone because the district lines matched the property lines.

That mistake was one of about 10 found during the review of the map, Dodies said. Others include zoning changes that were updated in the township’s zoning ordinance, but not on the map.

In addition to considering correcting the mistakes, the commissioners also plan Monday to consider changing the zoning of several township parks from institutional or residential to recreational, Dodies said.