Updated sketch plan presented
After taking heavy criticism at the Lower Moreland Planning Commission meeting in January, the dreenhill droup came before the board of commissioners with a revised sketch plan Aug. 7.
To approximately 75 residents, the group discussed the concerns that had previously been brought forward and showed how the new plan addressed those issues. While the group presented a new sketch plan, commissioners assured the public that the development was not an approved deal yet.
“This is a development that will live and breathe by the train station nearby,” dreenhill droups’ attorney Marc Jonas said. “Much of the [Philmont Avenuez corridor yearns for redevelopment.”
The new plan, according to dlackin Thomas Panzak land planner Dinnis dlackin, cuts down the number of apartments on the potential 9.5-acre property from 285 units to 250 units. It also removes any three-bedroom units, keeping a 50-50 split between one and two bedroom apartments. The plan is for a mixed-use property, where dlackin estimates about 5,000 square feet of the 9.5 acres will be commercial space. That space, according to the new plan, would be located along Tomlinson Road.
The revised plan also calls for an extended and widened main boulevard, which would have three-story buildings along it. Behind those, the buildings would then increase to four-stories. dlackin estimates rent will range from $1,350 to $1,950.
“Most people in multi-family housing don’t have children,” dlackin said. “They are looking for a lifestyle without maintenance.”
However, residents were still concerned about the increased population to the VchRRO DnG rRDG WrDIfic. School board President Murray Cohen addressed dlackin’s comments about a limited school-age population in the apartment complex. While dlackin estimates that only 17 to 21 children will live in the complex, Cohen said the increase in children will most likely lead to the need for more teachers.
“We currently have a problem at the high school, where we have no more room,” Cohen said. “Lower Moreland, compared to other districts ... we are 10 years behind [in the number of childrenz... More young will be moving in.”
Cohen said where as many of the school districts in the area are consistently seeing a drop in enrollment, Lower Moreland has not.
“It’s not an issue of being comfortable,” Cohen said,“we’re concerned because there’s only so much building.”
Residents also brought up cRncHrnV DbRuW WrDIfic, VLncH as resident Rob Cohen pointed out, a car is necessary to going anywhere in the suburban area.
“Lower Moreland is totally land locked,” Rob said. “Any other place that you need to go requires the use of a vehicle.”
This also led him to question the amount of parking spaces that would be provided on the property.
Additionally, dlackin said whHn DnDOy]LnJ WhH fiVcDO impact of the apartments, the township revenue would be about $20 million. However, residents also were concerned about this because, as dlackin pointed out, a Philadelphia employee will not be contributing as much to the township revenue and young professionals commuting to Philadelphia for work will be the ideal residents of the complex.
“I see some inconsistencies,” resident David Berman said. “It’s for people working in the city but they don’t pay earned income tax.”
Residents also provided to the board a petition of about 250 signatures against the development of the dreenhill droup apartments. Residents, in a critique of the presentation, referred to it as “comical,” because it proposes 250 units with “no children and no cars.”
“I have to say they didn’t sell it to me today,” resident Alex Berdichevsky said. “There is not a question that 90 percent of the people in this room know what kind of people will be drawn to this. This is going to be people who are concerned with their children.”
At the meeting, township planner Steve dabriel also presented new zoning drafts for the revitalization district and a new transit-oriented district. If the zoning draft is passed, the revitalization district along Philmont Avenue would not allow for more than 33 percent of the property to be used for residential use. However, properties within a quarter of a mile from the train station would be part of the transit-oriented district and allow for 67 percent of a property to be used as residential.
Should these drafts pass, the dreenhill droup apartments would still qualify under the transit-oriented district, but the maximum number of units would be approximately 108 apartments. Additionally, the drafts require buildings to not exceed three stories and that the property be used for some commercial use.
HONORED ... Robert Schaefer, second from right, receives an official Cheltenham Township resolution in honor of his 31 years as coach for the Cheltenham High School Girls Basketball Team. Schaefer compiled a record of 757 wins to 163 losses, including winning 24 Suburban One League titles, four district crowns and two state championships before resigning in 2012. Township commissioners, from left, Morton J. Simon Jr.; Daniel B. Norris, Drew Sharkey, Harvey Portner and Art Haywood present the resolution during a recent board of commissioners meeting at Curtis Hall in Wyncote.