East Marlborough supervisors see sketch plan for Route 82 development
● By J. Chambless
By John Chambless
Neighbors of a proposed 42-home
development got their first look at a sketch plan during the Aug. 7
East Marlborough Township Board of Supervisors meeting, and several
voiced concerns about it.
The sketch plan, presented by representatives from Toll Brothers, calls for development of the former nursery property which spans Route 82, south of Route 926, in East Marlborough Township. After encountering difficulty with wetlands on the east side of Route 82, the developer is suggesting putting all 42 single-family, detached homes in a loop configuration on the west side of Route 82, leaving about 26 acres on the east side of the road as passive recreation open space with walking trails. The Pratt family is reserving five acres of land on the east side of Route 82 for themselves. A crosswalk is proposed to allow residents to cross Route 82 to the open space.
The entrance of the proposed development would be across from the present office of the nursery on Route 82. A connecting road may be added to allow access to Chalfont Road as well. The homes would be built on the north edge of the Village Blackshire development, which has about half as many homes.
Cuyler Walker of the township Planning Commission said that Toll Brothers had spoken to the commission about the sketch plan, and had gotten positive feedback because the plan provides for as much open space as possible.
A Toll Brothers representative said the 42 new homes would have two-car garages and driveways, and parking would be allowed on one side of the street only. A study has shown there is adequate capacity for public water and sewer, he said. The homes, built on lots of 1/6 of an acre, would retail for $600,000 and higher. Construction could last for about two years, he estimated.
But residents of Village Blackshire told the supervisors that wells and septic systems are already being challenged, and that the density of the homes in the sketch plan seems excessive. The Toll Brothers representative said that the plan meets all local ordinances.
While a formal traffic impact study hasn't been performed yet, several residents said that traffic already backs up along Route 82 during events at the nearby Willowdale Chapel, and before and after school. Adding cars and children from the proposed development will only make things worse, they said.
A Village Blackshire resident said, “This is a big change. This is going to be a big burden on the residents of Blackshire, and I just don't understand why we're being asked to bear the weight of this.”
James Sinclair, whose property abuts the proposed open space, said, “Part of the spirit of our township should be preserving open space and the watershed. I strongly support this proposed sketch. We need to hand down open space that can be used for generations to come. I hope the board and the neighbors will try to think about what we're passing down to our children and grandchildren.”
Board of Supervisors chairman Richard Hannum said that any residents who want input should contact township manager Laurie Prysock, who will set up a meeting with Toll Brothers representatives to explain the plan further. The next step for Toll Brothers will be submitting a preliminary plan to the township.
Also at the meeting, a proposed development plan was submitted by Doug White. The development, on the north side of Route 1 and west of North Walnut Road, is near the Everfast property on Gale Lane. White had conditional use approval for a previous design, but rethought the layout and showed the supervisors a new design with 54 units in 27 buildings, situated on 22.6 acres. The twin-home cluster configuration allows more open space, White said, along with less impervious coverage. “I think we have a handsome subdivision here,” White said, adding that he is planning to call it Villages at Northridge. “I'm excited about this. I'm spending more money, but I think the design adds value to the properties and the township. These will be extremely attractive homes with a high resale value.” The homes would be priced at about $550,000, White said.
No designation for twin homes was in the township zoning ordinance, so White was asking for a revision. After discussion, the board agreed to allow the ordinance change, but only in the LI Zoning District. The proposed revision will be advertised, and the board will vote on the change on Oct. 2.
For more information about the township, visit www.eastmarlborough.org.
To contact Staff Writer John
Chambless, email email@example.com.