Bucks County Herald

Richland Station residents question Phoebe Center plan

CLIFF LEBOWITZ

Members of a Richland Township homeowners association, alarmed about an informal meeting they had with a developer regarding an expansion plan for an adjacent property, showed up in force at the Oct. 9 public supervisors’ meeting to voice their concerns.

Over a dozen residents of the 71-home Richland Station development, which is at Route 212 and Pumping Station Road in Richlandtown, attended the supervisors’ meeting, with seven speaking for the record.

At first, upset about the agenda including a request for a continuance of a conditional use hearing from the developer for an expansion of the adjacent Phoebe Richland Health Care Center, the group became more amicable and good humored as discussion ensued with township supervisors and their staff. They remained deeply concerned about a number of issues, which officials noted for inclusion in the development process.

Major concerns from the group’s meeting with the developer, which was not attended by township staff or their engineer or planner, featured increased traffic, stormwater management, proposed tree removal, and wildlife habitat preservation.

Speakers particularly noted that already existing traffic problems, featuring a “Richland Station shortcut,” already present challenges with stormwater runoff and wetland preservation; the proposed removal of a much greater percentage of mature trees than would normally be allowed, and loss of their contribution to runoff absorption; and the effect of all those concerns on wildlife habitat and viability in what is now a woodland.

Officials responded that laws require a developer to actually improve stormwater management on a proposed site, and that the proposed wetlands impact was limited to utilities crossings that were subject to particular compliance. They also noted laws mandating developer rights to build, with township regulations available to mitigate impact, and that the township planning commission had approved having a conditional use hearing for the project, but had not yet approved any plan for the project.

Land development plans are to be on the agenda for the Nov. 21 township planning commission meeting, with final conditional use and land development approval to be sought at the Dec. 11 public board of supervisors meeting. The Phoebe Richland Health Care Center is a skilled and intermediate nursing-care facility that is seeking to expand through an 84-unit independent living addition.

Also at the Oct. 9 supervisors’ meeting, the board approved the addition of the 12-acre Psulkowsky property on Robb Road to its agricultural security area, bringing the total to 49 parcels totaling 1,118 acres.

The next semiannual prescription drug takeback, at the police station on California Road, is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 28. A shredding event is set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 4.

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