Township Will Help Local Businesses Come Out Of Shutdown

Township officials are looking for ways to help local businesses emerge from the coronavirus lockdown.

Township Manager Robert Vornlocker talked about some of the strategies being discussed during the May 14 “virtual” town hall hosted by Mayor Phil Kramer.

Vornlocker described a mixed bag of relaxed ordinances and streamlined processes, all designed to help businesses regain lost ground during the shutdown.

Vornlocker said the township will relax the sign ordinance so on-premise signs would be less regulated “to draw attention to a business as long as they don’t present a traffic hazard. We can look to loosen that up and do so without additional permits.”

He said thought is also being given to allowing outside sales and services for businesses. He said once all businesses are allowed to re-open, they will probably have to do so with capacity restrictions.

That will most likely result in fewer cars in parking lots, Vornlocker said, and any businesses with their own parking lots could use some of that space for selling, he said.

“We can relax the ordinance and allow for them to conduct their businesses outside, which would allow them to expand their capacity,” he said.

He said the township would also look to help restaurants who have the space to offer outside dining.

The manager said the township is also looking to see if it can allow stores that do not usually offer food the opportunity to do so.

That help would be targeted to those business who would normally have to go to the county Health Department for a permit “if they wanted to give out food, like popcorn and hot dogs,” he said. “We’re looking to see if we can facilitate that in an expedited manner.”

Vornlocker said the township would also look into expediting the review process for any new permits, and also allow existing licenses and permits nearing expiration to be extended “without any additional work on the part of the businesses.”

Vornlocker said the township will also work with hotels located in Franklin, many of which have seen business plummet during the shutdown.

“They’ll see a significant hit from a revenue standpoint and we will work with them,” he said.

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