Monday, August 19, 2019


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Douglass Township Development Nearing Finish Line
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            A proposal by a Willow Grove company to develop 28.5 acres in Douglass Township has nearly reached the finish line. On Monday, a developer from the Danny Jake Corporation and his engineer attended a staff meeting with multiple township officials. The intent of the meeting was to finalize any lingering issues, according to Supervisor Joshua Stouch.

            Stouch said a motion to grant final plan approval to a proposal to construct 236 townhouses on a parcel known as the Zern Tract could be considered in March. It is likely to pass, according to the supervisor.

            A Route 100 Corridor Master Plan Overlay, approved in 2010 by the township's board of supervisors, allows construction of the townhouse community with certain conditions, according to Township Manager Pete Hiryak.

            Two years ago, the supervisors granted preliminary plan approval to construct a cluster development between Second and Third avenues on the western side of Jackson Road. In February of 2017, Hiryak said the developer must complete months and months of work to finalize the plan. According to Stouch, that work is nearly complete.

            Municipal officials, including Hiryak, Stouch, Solicitor Bob Brant, engineer Josh Hagadorn, fire Chief Ricky Smith as well as the township's emergency management coordinator, attended the public staff meeting, which lasted an hour, according to the supervisor. He said they addressed the remaining engineering issues, made sure the escrow accounts are properly established and tied up any other loose ends.

            If the board grants final plan approval on Monday or during the March 18 meeting, construction on the first phase – consisting of 70 residences near Jackson Road along with the establishment of water and sewer lines along with new roads – could commence in April, according to Stouch. 

            Completion of the initial phase is expected to take approximately 18 months, according to the supervisor. He does not expect the work to create any additional traffic issues, citing a study completed by the developer.

            According to Stouch, the development includes a donation of significant open space for walking trails and a park.

            As long as the final proposal meets the legal requirements determined by the solicitor, he said he will vote in favor of a motion to grant final plan approval. 

            "I am not a fan of continual development in the township," said Stouch, who also serves on the municipality's planning agency. "Certain owners have the legal right to develop their property as they see fit so long as certain legal requirements are met."

            If approved, the community could trigger the township's transformation, predicted Stouch. He said the developer's related contribution of money and property will set the stage for the realignment of Market Street, which dead-ends between Weis Markets and Merkel's Shoes. 

            According to Brant, the municipality will receive more than $345,000 from the developer in traffic impact fees. He also said the developer has agreed to contribute $170,400 towards the proposal which would connect Grosser Road and Philadelphia Avenue under the long-range, best case scenario.





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