UPPER PROVIDENCE >> The township supervisors have denied the Freeland/Black Rock Associates preliminary subdivision plan due to technical deficiencies.
Unresolved negotiation issues included emergency vehicle turning radius configuration, amenity choices, on-street parking, and neighbor design approval for a required berm beside a property line row of trees.
The supervisors unanimously denied the plans on Feb. 17 pending an extension of time to resolve the outstanding issues. The plan’s review period will expire prior to the next board meeting.
Devon developer Tom Curry proposes 52 houses, arranged on both sides of a sharp angled circular internal road, framing the outer edge of the 15.22-acre property, at the southeast corner of Black Rock and Collegeville roads.
An additional central road would bisect the development, to form two interior housing squares with shared open space in the middle. Each forty-foot wide standalone carriage house, with an approximately sale price of $450,000, would include a two-car garage and two paved parking spaces.
The backyards of the houses built along the inner perimeters of the two squares would adjoin the internal recreational space. Residents living across the street from the squares would access common park amenities via paths between specific properties.
Stormwater management infrastructure would only be installed in the center of the southern square.
Attorney Edmund Mullin told the supervisors on Feb. 17 that the applicant will comply with review letters and explained the Planning Commission recommendation reference to a required berm along the Eidam property line.
“Between us and Eidams there is a natural existing buffer of trees. If we were to simply comply with the ordinance, all of those tree would go, they’d die, because we’d be disturbing the roots, etc.” Neither Patrick or Hilary Eidam, who own the 1085 Black Rock Road property, attended the meeting.
Mullin said Curry and the Planning Commission recommend township planner Geoff Grace determine what should be done in the conjunction with the Eidams.
“We’ll do what the ordinance says we have to do, we’re not trying to cut corners, we’re not trying to get around anything, we’ll do exactly what the ordinance says, we’re saying we don’t know that’s not necessary best for the Eidams.
Grace will inspect the property during a walk with Curry’s team within the next few weeks.
Supervisors’ Vice Chairman Phil Barker asked, “what about the representation you and Mr. Curry already made to the Eidams, as to what you were going to do. Where is that document?” Barker said the Eidams have expectations that have not been documented while the applicant now requests Geoff Grace make the associated decisions. “It’s not acceptable that it’s going to come back to the township.” Barker added, “a landscape plan has to be developed and given and signed off by the Eidams because that’s what Mr. Curry agreed to do.”
Mullin said, “we’re happy to do what we committed to do with the Eidams. But I don’t know if we all contemplated when we made that commitment that by doing what we agreed to do we might actually be hurting them in the nature of what’s there today.” Mullin proposed Curry work with Geoff Grace to create a plan, including photographs, for presentation to the Eidams.
Regarding inclusion of development amenities such as tot lot, BBQ grills, benches or gazebos, Mullin said Curry will work with Grace to determine which choices would be acceptable for installation at the center open islands within the housing squares. Grace confirmed township ordinances allows for “some recreation in the open space.”
Supervisors’ Chairwoman Lisa Mossie highlighted the 75-foot center-line turning radius concerns raised by Fire Marshal Josh Overholt. “That’s a safety issue,” Mossie said.
Overholt, who’d met with Curry’s team earlier that day, said additional parking restrictions would be required to accommodate the 48-foot turning radius of the fire department’s largest apparatus in order to navigate internal development roads. “It’s like threading a needle.”
When Mossie asked who would be responsible if a vehicle is parked in a restricted area in the event of a fire, Mullin said the police would be given permission to ticket offenders. The plans show a total of 32 permitted 9-by-22-foot on-street parking space stalls located between driveways. In addition, since the original plans were presented, the 25 or 26-foot cartway widths have been increased to the township standard 32 feet road width.
Barker reminded everyone that the ordinance requires all developments have a 150-foot centerline turning radius. “It appears to me that no matter which entrance you come in, you can’t get around the development with a fire truck.” Paoli engineer Jeremy Maziarz said they believe the applicant complies with fire regulations and had provided documentation that proves fire vehicles can safely navigate throughout the community, with compliance to street parking restrictions. Traffic consultant Ken O’Brien confirmed that if no one is parked in the restricted areas the fire truck can adequately move throughout the development.
Supervisor John Pearson asked, “what is our responsibility, let’s just assume we okay this, and somebody parks there, who is responsible if somebody’s house burns down?” Mullin said the person who parked the car.
Mossie raised concerns that “we have a development here with very, very tight parking, no on street parking to speak of, no amenities to speak of, two big chunks of closed off open space that may or may not get used, I just don’t know your development is going to recommend over the Toll Brothers development that is going to cause people to pay that much money for it.”
Curry said “we are willing to give whatever amenities you want,” in his development that will be marketed to area residents looking to downsize, while still able to host holidays, in a village type setting.
In addition, the applicant will coordinate efforts with the proposed neighboring Gambone development relating to traffic calming devices to prevent speeding between the communities, interconnection of sidewalks, and the location of a maintenance/mulch area beside a similar planned Gambone storage facility.
At the request of township staff, an eight-foot wide macadam trail will be constructed along the development perimeter. Curry offered to construct a corner wall similar to one built across Collegeville Road by Brandywine Senior Living at Providence.
This development will share the cost of roadway improvements at the Black Rock/Collegeville road intersection with the adjacent separate Toll and Gambone housing developments, also in the planning stages, on almost 100 contiguous acres.