Lans­dale coun­cil ap­proves YMCA project

North Penn Life - - NEWS - By Dan Sokil dsokil@ournareg­is­

Af­ter lengthy dis­cus­sion by sev­eral res­i­dents — and in the face of a pe­ti­tion from more than 40 Lans­dale na­tives op­posed to the project — bor­ough coun­cil has ap­proved the pro­posed Lans­dale Col­lab­o­ra­tive Project to ex­pand the Lans­dale branch of the North Penn YMCA.

“We are very cog­nizant of the safety con­cerns of our res­i­dents and are in con­tin­ual dis­cus­sions with them to re­solve what­ever con­cerns we can,” said coun­cil Vice Pres­i­dent Paul Cle­mente.

Which is­sues the coun­cil could ad­dress were the main topic of dis­cus­sion Wed­nes­day night, as res­i­dents from nearby For­est and High­land av­enues and Church Road came out in force to op­pose the project. Plans have evolved slightly VLnFH LW waV firVW SrRSRVHd, but the col­lab­o­ra­tion would bring Manna on Main Street, The PbAK Cen­ter and Ad- vanced Liv­ing Com­mu­ni­ties to­gether in a com­bined com­plex ad­ja­cent to the cur­rent YMCA on the 600 block of bast Main Street.

Neigh­bors near the cur­rent YMCA came out in force Wed­nes­day to voice the latHVW YHrVLRnV RI FRnFHrnV firVW heard when the project plans were un­veiled last spring: that ve­hi­cle and pedes­trian WraI­fiF IrRP WKH SrRSRVHd project would be fun­neled out of the site through a pri­vately owned stretch of For­est Av­enue the neigh­bors Vay LV WRR WLJKW a fiW IRr WKH project.

“We ask in the pe­ti­tion to re­ject the cur­rent pro­pos­als and we ask the bor­ough to in­ves­ti­gate all op­tions for this en­trance way, up to and in­clud­ing re­strict­ing ve­hi­cle WraI­fiF Ln WKH HnWranFHway,” said res­i­dent Jes­sica Behrle.

More than 40 res­i­dents signed the pe­ti­tion that Behrle pre­sented and read to coun­cil, and about half that num­ber came to the meet­ing to show their sup­port — cit- LnJ fiJurHV IrRP a WraI­fiF study con­ducted ear­lier this yHar Ey ERrRuJK WraI­fiF Hngi­neers Pen­noni As­so­ci­ates WR VKRw WKH aPRunW RI WraI­fiF they think the col­lab­o­ra­tive will bring.

Ac­cord­ing to Behrle, the WraI­fiF LPSaFW VWudy SrRMHFWed that 326 ve­hi­cles would en­ter the new project dur­ing peak hours of 5 to 6 p.m. and shows that roughly 40 SHrFHnW RI WraI­fiF WR WKH Fur­rent site leaves through that exit now and heads right into their neigh­bor­hood.

“If we say con­ser­va­tively that 40 per­cent of them will continue to use For­est [Av­enue], that means 130 cars or more will be ac­cess­ing that road. That’s two cars ev­ery minute that will be us­ing High­land from For­est,” Behrle.

Bor­ough So­lic­i­tor Mark Hoster­man and at­tor­ney Frank Bar­tle echoed the same ar­gu­ment — that the im­me­di­ate stretch of For­est next to the drive­way is pri­vately owned and the bor- ough can’t force any changes, such as widen­ing that stretch of street or re­quir­ing that side­walks be added on the pri­vate road as part of the YMCA project.

“I think all of us in­tu­itively would love to see the side­walks continue. How­ever, we can­not re­quire the YMCA to do that. That would be in the na­ture of an off­site im­prove­ment, and we can­not re­quire that,” Hoster­man said.

The YMCA and bor­ough plan­ning com­mis­sion also dis­cussed the pos­si­bil­ity of a new de­cel­er­a­tion lane to be built along bast Main in front of the new project. But that could not be ac­com­plished for the same rea­son, it would be built on pri­vate prop­erty and the landowner is not part of the project, he said.

Hoster­man and Bar­tle both out­lined the his­tory of site im­prove­ments and ded­i­ca­tion of that stretch of prop­erty and how it came to fall into pri­vate hands af­ter the bor­ough passed up on an op­por­tu­nity to ac­quire the right of way in the 1930s.

While the YMCA can’t ad­dress that con­cern off of its prop­erty, its con­sul­tants have worked closely with the neigh­bor­ing res­i­dents, plan­ning com­mis­sion and bor­ough con­sul­tants to ad­dress sev­eral other con­cerns on the prop­erty, Bar­tle said , in­clud­ing fenc­ing along the prop­erty line, adding skirts atop the build­ing to block off me­chan­i­cal equip­ment and re­align­ing drive­ways inside the YMCA park­ing lots to add stop signs near the For­est drive­way.

“We sup­port ev­ery mea­sure the bor­ough takes with rHVSHFW WR WraI­fiF FaOPLnJ de­vices or a four-way stop at High­land and For­est. But that’s re­ally not ours to de­cide,” Bar­tle said.

“We want to do what’s right for the Bor­ough of Lans­dale and the sur­round­ing community and we have adopted ev­ery con­sid­er­a­tion they have sug­gested in our plan,” he said.

That plan was ap­proved by a unan­i­mous vote of coun­cil, with sev­eral mem­bers ex­plain­ing their votes be­fore cast­ing them and Cle­mente and coun­cil mem­bers Mary Fuller and Steve Mala­gari — whose Ward lne con­tains the pro­posed project and nearby neigh­bor­hoods — all said they would mon­i­tor the neigh­bors’ con­cerns and work to ad­dress any safety con­cerns the bor­ough can ad­dress.

“This is the way it should work. I ap­pre­ci­ate that all of you have come out to voice your con­cerns, but there is an un­known should coun­cil not ap­prove this,” Fuller said.

“What would we get? Would the Y continue? Would they sell if they can’t build? And what would hap­pen next? These are all scary points of is­sue ... and I know I would like to see some­thing new and im­proved on there,” she said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.