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Scranton approves zoning ordinance with amendments to limit hospital height

Scranton City Council approved the new zoning ordinance, after the public's concerns caused them to make changes to zoning designations for Geisinger's proposed hospital expansion.

City Council unanimously approved of the new zoning ordinance on May 9th. Residents of the city's Hill Section near Geisinger Community Medical Center were relieved that the city made adjustments.

Geisinger plans to build an addition to the hospital and a new parking garage. Residents asked questions and voiced their concerns about the potential impacts on the neighborhood, and City Council heard them. The changes in the ordinance limit the height of the new structures.

The odd side of the 200 block of Colfax Avenue was changed from Civic zoning to Town-City Institutional zoning, and the even side of the block was changed from Town-City Institutional to a Town-City Single Family Residence zoning designation.

Geisinger had proposed an 8-level parking garage on that block that would stand close to 100 feet tall. The zoning will only allow them to build up to 45 feet, which is about the height of a three-story home.

Residents cheered and expressed gratitude. David Rinaldi, who bought a house on Colfax Avenue in the 1970s, was one of them.

"I give council here in Scranton tremendous credit, for listening to the residents up there, listening to the neighborhood association, and crafting a compromise I think that will work for that section of the city," he said.

The ordinance will go into effect after nearby municipalities approve theirs, as part of the Scranton-Abingtons Planning Association Comprehensive Plan.

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