OVERALL MASTER DEV PLAN

This map shows the entire scope of the proposed Limerick Town Center project. The seci9or housing portion of the plan, which has received preliminary approval, is at the center. The traffic circle which was the subject of much of Tuesday's discussion as at center right.

LIMERICK — The proposal to build a 450-unit combination development of senior housing, townhouses and a retail strip on 30 acres at the intersection of Ridge and Swamp pikes nearly hit a speed bump Tuesday night.

With Supervisor Thomas Neafcy absent, a looming 2-2 vote threatened to put the brakes on a development which has moved steadily through the development process since last month when a portion of the project received preliminary site plan approval from the township supervisors.

In addition to 160 townhomes and the 308 senior units — comprised of a mixture of independent living, assisted living and “memory care” units — the plan also calls for three retail buildings that have 32,000 square feet of space on the first floor, with apartments above.

Called "Limerick Town Center," and "Arcadia at Limerick Pointe" for the senior housing portion, the project was made possible by changes the supervisors made at the developers’ request to the township zoning code to allow the three uses on the same parcel, said Robert Brant, the attorney representing the developers.

In exchange, the developers agreed to extend Lewis Road north through the property to Swamp Pike, thus allowing northbound drivers to avoid having to make a right turn onto Ridge Pike and then the very sharp left onto Swamp Pike, and vice versa.

However, the plan now includes a traffic circle, for the intersection of Swamp Pike, Lewis Road and the proposed new road, Arcadia Drive, which appears to be popular only with the Montgomery County engineers who required it.

The first phase of the project to be built will be the senior living building, followed by townhouses and then finally, the commercial, Brant said previously.

The township requires that road improvements accompany the first phase of construction and that meant a vote Tuesday to apply for three new traffic light permits from PennDOT.

But Supervisor Ken Sperring, who has objected repeatedly to the traffic circle required by Montgomery County Planning Commission, said he refuses "on principle," to vote for anything involving the circle.

Joining him was Supervisor Patrick Morroney who first said he is concerned about buffering issues and later said he is opposed to the entire project.

Morroney was absent when the preliminary approval vote was taken last month.

Township Engineer Khaled Hassan said roundabouts "function better than intersections." And Township Manager Dan Kerr said the roundabout plan had been reviewed by the town's traffic engineer, as well as county and PennDOT. and "all recommend it as superior."

To which Sperring replied, "take a look at the roundabout at Route 29 and Route 73. There are accidents there all the time."

In the end, however, after much explaining about the need for applying the permits, and re-assurances that there would be other opportunities to raise concerns, Sperring changed his vote "under protest."

With Morroney still opposed, the resolution to apply for the traffic light permits was approved 3-1 and the project continues down the road toward final approval. 

This article first appeared as a post in The Digital Notebook blog.

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