Bucks County Herald

Richland townhouse development receives preliminary approval

CLIFF LEBOWITZ



Richland Township is moving forward toward development of a vacant, 4.6-acre “eyesore for many years” on Route 309.

In a split decision, Richland Township supervisors have approved a revised preliminary land development plan for a new 59-townhouse development at 323 California Road, which is east of California Road and south of Penn-Am Drive.

The action was taken at their July 9 public meeting.

The development is to include parking facilities, a walking trail, and a stormwater management facility. The site, which is in the planned industrial zoning district, is to be serviced by public water and sewer. Access is to be from a proposed street to California Road.

Previous improvements to the 11-acre site, two single-family homes, are to be removed. The property is listed in the township Historic Resources Survey as a site that may be eligible for National Register listing.

To remove the existing structures, “the applicant shall submit the required documentation to demonstrate compliance, or a variance would be required.” A variety of variances already have been granted by the township’s zoning hearing board, for items including setback, buffer yard and impervious surface requirements.

The township planning commission had recommended on June 19 that the plan be denied based on failure to comply with parking requirements. The number of parking spaces required is 207, but the applicant requested keeping to 165, with spaces inside garages counting additionally.

Each home is to have a two-car garage and room for two additional spaces in the driveway, with an additional 47 overflow parking spaces provided, including 16 in a parking lot. The applicant also requested relief from requirements designed to “encourage cars not to back into a public street.”

Among other development matters considered at the July 9 meeting, supervisors conducted a conditional use hearing for the proposed development of a long-vacant, 4.6-acre site on the south side of Route 309, about a half-mile south of Pumping Station Road.

American Heritage Federal Credit Union is proposing to construct two new buildings: a 3,200-square-foot structure for a credit union building, and a 7,052-square-foot building for either office or retail use. The site sits just north of a large shopping center.

During the hearing, a spokesman for the company compared the plans to an outlet it already operates on Route 202 in East Norriton.

“Natural features” in the rear of the property, a stream and wetland, are to be preserved, with the new buildings to feature a “historic” look, through “aged brick” and a “Colonial-looking lighting package.”

A decision on the conditional use is expected for the Aug. 13 supervisors meeting, with land development plans to also be presented at that time.




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