Tuesday, December 18, 2018

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Council Grants Conditional Approval for Quakertown Apartments
Written by Jennifer Butler, Correspondent
2018-04-12

            Quakertown Borough Council unanimously granted conditional approval for a project that will repurpose a large three-story building at 1049 West Broad Street. Once completed, the building will contain 32 one-bedroom apartments, ten two-bedroom apartments and six studio apartments.

            A smaller residential property next door will be included in the project, adding four  two-bedroom apartments and bring the total units to 52.

            The first floor will include what developer Sheldon Stein referred to as live-work space, accommodating residential apartments as well as mini-storage units available for public use and adaptive retail. According to Stein, 65 percent of the first floor will consist of commercial units.

            Stein presented an overview of the project to council during their work session the prior week. At that meeting, Stein indicated that the residential units will target renters with a median salary of $50,000 per year.

            During a hearing before the approval vote, council set forth three conditions that would need to be incorporated for final approval. A loading dock will be added to the plans to align with borough zoning ordinances. In addition, the developer will need to ensure parking lot aisle widths meet borough requirements and have PennDOT evaluate property entrances and exits.

            Resident Stephen Biddle asked that council consider restricting vehicular access to the property as right-turn in, right-turn out only, explaining that a left-turn in or out would conflict with oncoming traffic.

            Councilman Michael Johnson said he felt that such a restriction would not alleviate any possible traffic concerns as drivers who would otherwise be making a left turn would need to find a place to turn around.

            "You're just creating a problem in a different location."

            Council did not include any access restrictions in the conditional approval provisions.

            As of yet, no plans have come before council for conditional approval of the proposed Rail Area Redevelopment Project. Developers Chris LaBonge and Ian Jeffrey announced the project earlier this year, set to include the Trolley Barn Public Market at 116 East Broad Street, adjacent to the Quakertown Train Station.

            The concept is modeled after similar indoor public markets in Doylestown and Easton.

            Naomi Naylor, Executive Director of Quakertown Alive! and manager of the borough's Main Street Program, is excited about the proposed project.

            "We strive to build the daytime economy of our downtown and this is a way to do just that."

            Naylor added that she feels patrons will travel up to 25 miles to visit the public market, stopping to enjoy Quakertown's downtown.


 

 

 

 

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