East Marlborough supervisors hear details of auto service center planned for Route 1
● By J. Chambless
By John Chambless
Two abandoned homes that have been a
dead spot on the busy Route 1 corridor in East Marlborough Township
will be demolished and replaced with a Quick Lane auto service center
and a retail building if the developer can work out a list of
approvals with the township and PennDOT. The East Marlborough Board
of Supervisors heard details of the project at their meeting on May
The property sits on the north side of Route 1, adjacent to the Wawa store. There are five parcels at the site, which will be combined and re-divided into a 10,300-square-foot auto service center and a 5,000-square-foot retail building, both of which will face Route 1. The Quick Lane service center will be owned and operated by Garnet Ford. The retail space is currently proposed to be a Mattress Warehouse store.
The project got conditional use approval last May. The board saw architectural renderings of both buildings, which will sit between Pennock Avenue and Orchard Avenue. A fence will be installed on the back of the property to block it from nearby homes. The Quick Lane has an orange stripe that runs around the building that is part of the company's branding. Brick has been added to the plans at the request of the township Planning Commission, but the supervisors asked if more brick could be added along the bottom of the windows facing Route 1, instead of being ground-to-ceiling glass shown in the drawings. The orange stripe may also be removed from the back of the building at the request of neighbors.
The developers were seeking waivers that included not installing sidewalks on Pennock or Orchard avenues to reduce foot traffic into the nearby neighborhood. The steep grade of Pennock Avenue will also be reduced at its intersection with Route 1. The project still needs PennDOT approval since it will be affected by the proposed widening of Route 1, and a temporary construction permit must be worked out with one homeowner, along with other permits. The supervisors approved the preliminary plan, with several conditions.
Attorney John Jaros, who is representing the applicants, told the board, “We would like to be back next month with as many items checked off the list as possible.”
A Citadel Bank branch that is proposed for a vacant lot where a Burger King used to stand, on the south side of Route 1, was also discussed. The plan is modeled closely on a TD Bank branch that had been approved for the site four years ago. The developer asked for clarification on sidewalk placement in front of the bank, and agreed to put money into escrow to help fund a possible bridge that will carry the sidewalk over a nearby stream. The board granted the project final plan approval, pending a determination of the amount of money to be placed into escrow.
During public comment at the beginning of the meeting, two township residents expressed concerns about power outages that made the grinder pumps in their sewage systems inoperable. About 600 homes in the township use the grinder pumps, and in the event of a prolonged power outage, residents cannot flush toilets or use water. The elderly or infirm cannot walk to homes that have electrical service, creating a safety hazard, one woman told the board. The residents asked the board to keep the issue foremost in their plans. Earlier in the meeting, the supervisors thanked Eagle Scout Zach Powell for organizing a benefit concert and food drive that gathered more then 1,000 pounds of food for Kennett Area Community Services. Board chairman Richard Hannum, Jr., read a letter congratulating Powell for his work.
“We are trying to find what the right time would be to offer pump-outs of septic systems in the case of a prolonged outage,” Hannum told the residents. “We are also giving information to new residents about the pump system as well. We appreciate you coming out, and we are working on this issue.”
Unionville resident John Greenwood then addressed the board, saying, “I was verbally asaulted by one of the supervisors at a meeting two weeks ago, when he jumped up and started screaming at me.”
Supervisor John Sarro addressed Greenwood, saying, “That supervisor was me. You have been verbally abusing me for four years. Every Safety Committee meeting is the same thing – you yelling at me.”
Greenwood denied raising his voice to Sarro.
“You're just not happy with the answers we give you about speeding,” Sarro continued. “We have taken measures and we have reduced speeding through the village from 28 percent to 8 percent. But we have other township projects. There's issues elsewhere that need to be addressed. You're still not happy. Nobody ever gets to zero percent speeding.”
Hannum defended Sarro, who is the chairman of the Safety Committee, saying, “I believe in Mr. Sarro's leadership of that committee. He has done a lot, and his time is valuable.”
For more information about township meetings and other business, visit www.eastmarlborough.org.
To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email firstname.lastname@example.org.