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Upper Hanover Zoning Board votes Warehouse Yes, Offices No
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Upper Hanover's Zoning Hearing board voted Monday night to reject two variance requests, and accepted two others, from an Oaks developer looking to construct a warehouse and office building along Route 663.

            The three-person panel, which rendered its decision around 10:05 p.m. after deliberating for less than an hour, voted unanimously to deny a proposal allowing warehouse and office uses on the property. The board cast a similar vote opposing a proposal to allow a setback adjustment. Audubon Land Development Corporation was seeking permission to utilize a 31-foot setback between Route 663 and two proposed driveways. Township ordinance calls for a 65-foot setback.

            The developer received conditional permission to build a loading area between the building and Route 663. Chairman Bill Fenley and Member Gene Marks voted in favor of granting relief of the ordinance, which includes a requirement to keep truck traffic off Quakertown Road. Carey Brinkman cast an opposing vote.

           The applicant also received permission to build on land with steep slopes. The members unanimously approved a motion stating that approval was not necessary because the property contained less than one percent of the property with slopes measuring at least 25 percent, according to Bernadette Kearney, the Lansdale attorney representing the property owner. She described the situation as legally insignificant.

           A King of Prussia engineer and an employee of the property owner testified during the hearing, which resumed following a June 15 continuance.

            Several neighbors also addressed the board, expressing their concerns related to traffic, noise and sight line issues.

            Last month, Quakertown 4, LLC submitted a sketch plan to construct a 333,296 square-foot distribution warehouse and two-story, 12,000-square-foot office building directly across from the entrance to the Northgate Development, and the future Wawa, on three parcels covering nearly 42 acres in the township's LIC-Light Industrial and Limited Commercial District. The proposal includes 54 loading docks and 79 parking spaces.

            Kestra Kelly, a project manager with BL Companies, testified that the office building – as well as two driveways – was included in the original proposal to maximize its market value. In response to a question from Marks, she admitted that the office building, considered a separate use, was not essential to the operation of the warehouse. Haulers will operate offices inside the warehouse, according to the engineer.

            The triangle shape of the parcels forced engineers to design the warehouse as they did, according to Kelly. She explained that the current design creates the best opportunity for safe counterclockwise circulation.

            Rob Neilson Jr., a project manager at Audubon Land Development, said his company will need to obtain an easement from a neighboring property owner to develop a paper road. Neilson said his company would work to attain that during the land development process.

            According to township supervisors Chairman Steven Rothenberger, the applicant has secured an equitable condition of sale with the current property owner of an 8.09-acre plot and a 29.24 acre parcel that will be covered in the zoning hearing.

            Dr. Troy and Tracy Heuer, with a Barto mailing address, have owned the larger property -- currently zoned R - Preferential Assessment -- since June 2000, according to Montgomery County property records.

            Quakertown 4 LLC – with a mailing address of 2620 Egypt Road, the same as Audubon Land Development – owns a 4.66-acre parcel adjacent to the larger plot. It purchased the smaller property from John M. Lorenzo in March for $700,000, according to county property records.






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