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Pennsburg Planning Commission Questions Developer’s Claims
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Multiple members of Pennsburg's planning commission expressed skepticism about a King of Prussia developer's claims regarding a proposal to construct 50 housing units on a 7.83-acre parcel along Montgomery Avenue.

            Wayne Stevens questioned Todd Hendricks' claim that the Kline property had not been identified as a riparian corridor. Fred Schutte recommended that the developer provide paperwork to prove the soil and groundwater at the property is not contaminated and that the Army Corps of Engineers determined that the parcel was not considered a wetland.

            "Until we have what you are saying in writing, we can't do anything," Schutte said.

            Numerous residents attending Tuesday's planning commission meeting expressed their opposition to the proposal to construct 48 townhouses and two single homes expressed their opposition. More than one said the development would exacerbate flooding issues in the neighborhood.

            Hendricks made his first appearance before the planning commission to discuss the development of 704 Montgomery Ave, which is owned by Stanford Large, Jr. The developer asked the members to consider recommending that the members support four waiver requests, which included open space requirements, the distance between intersections and tree removal. He suggested a staff meeting with borough officials to discuss the possibility of making a contribution in exchange for the waiver approvals.

            "I'm just here to get guidance," Hendricks said.

            The developer said he plans to build 24 housing units, split into two homes each on multiple properties. The entrance, located near the intersection to the entrance to the Upper Montgomery Joint Authority, would be built through the location of the little blue house on the property, according to Hendricks.

            He said all structures on the property, including some dilapidated garages, would have to be knocked down. A single home on the western edge of Montgomery Avenue would be rebuilt, and an additional single home would be   added closer to the entrance. The singles houses would be in Upper Hanover, and the townhouses would be located in the borough.

            "The townhouses look like shoeboxes," said Felicia Iski, the planning commission chair.

According to Member Wayne Stevens, the density of the project could not meet the borough's open space requirement. He described 32 units as more conducive to reaching that goal.

            The sketch plan presented during the meeting includes two storm basins. The developer said underwater piping would be implemented to help solve the flooding problem.

According to Hendricks, an environmental company hired to check the soil and water at the property – which previously hosted a gas station and a junkyard – presented a "clean bill of health."

            The developer claimed the Army Corps of Engineers had concluded that the property is located in a floodplain. Hendricks said concerns over the novel coronavirus prevented the agency from presenting a written jurisdictional determination.

            "Those guys have been to the site," the developer said. "They have done their work. The results should come any day."

            Member Ethel Ritchey pushed back on Hendricks' claims. She said the property has been identified by Montgomery County as a riparian corridor since 2002. However, the developer assured her that the county was wrong and that officials were in the process of correcting the error.

            The twin homes would not have a basement, and each structure's floor would be constructed eight inches above the highest point in the year, according to Hendricks. He said the land would be graded to avoid flooding issues.





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