UPPER PROVIDENCE — Montgomery County’s failure to provide requested information prompted the township supervisors to unanimously deny the Parkhouse preliminary subdivision plan on Feb. 3.
Residents paid close attention to the discussion leading up to the vote, which was made on the review period’s expiration date.
The county wants to subdivide the 292-acre site bisected by Route 113. The northern parcel would retain the 208-bed Parkhouse facility while a new parcel number would be assigned to southern parcel between Route 113 and the Schuylkill River containing the Upper Schuylkill Valley Park and Wildlife Center.
The Montgomery County commissioners have agreed to sell the Parkhouse complex to Mid-Atlantic Health Care for $39 million.
Scott Exley, president of Bursich Associates Inc., a civil engineering firm in Pottstown, was the only applicant representative at Monday’s meeting.
Calling himself a “pinch-hitter” due to the inclement weather, Exley summarized the plan’s history to date from his notes, which did not coincide with the township’s interpretation of the applicant’s intentions.
When asked specific legal questions, Exley deferred to the county’s solicitor.
Township Solicitor Edward Skypala said the township “needs answers because this may not be a simple subdivision.”
Skypala admitted he had “never seen a zoning application where the validity of the applicant is in question.”
Supervisors’ Vice Chairman John Pearson’s motion to deny the plan was “based upon technical difficulties,” included in a series of township consultant letters. Overdue answers including owner clarifications, land titles, and the status of the declaring the on-site water tower as a third lot, could affect the plan’s final design.
Planner Geoffrey Grace and Township Engineer William Dingman confirmed a lack of adequate responses by the county to their critical questions.
The sale of the Parkhouse acreage to Mid-Atlantic has prompted opposition from residents of Upper Providence, where Parkhouse is located, and has sparked several protests at the facility and in Norristown over the past month.