Project clears hurdle
$375,000 pledge from developer wins preliminary OK for Sanatoga Green
LOWER POTTSGROVE » With a 4-1 vote by the township commissioners, the $146-million proposal to build 500 homes and apartments, a hotel and large medical building near the Limerick outlets took an important step forward Thursday night.
Sanatoga Green, as the project is called, proposes a 60,000-squarefoot medical building, a 108-room hotel, 17 multi-family apartment buildings with a total of 343 units and 147 townhomes, all on about 50 acres off Evergreen Road opposite the Costco.
First envisioned in 2014, when the township commissioners agreed to change the zoning to “gateway mixed use” at the suggestion of the developers, Castle Caldecott LLC, the project received preliminary site plan approval from the township commissioners last night. It was not easily won. The approval was expected two weeks ago, but was delayed due to disagreements over details of the project, and over the township’s desire for some kind of guarantee that the commercial elements of the plan would be built as well as the roughly 500 homes that have
“It was not easy to get them to agree to that. They didn’t want to put up any money at all.” — Bruce Foltz, Lower Pottsgrove Commissioners Chairman
drawn concern from the Pottsgrove School District.
But a 90-minute meeting Monday between the developers, the township staff and Commissioners’ Chairman Bruce Foltz and Vice Chairman Stephen Klotz produced a compromise.
As Township Solicitor Charles D. Garner Jr. explained, one of the 38 conditions attached to the approval is an incentive for the developer to move forward with the commercial aspects of the project.
The developers have agreed to put up $375,000 in cash or a line of credit to ensure that after the first, townhouse phase of the project moves forward, that the second residential phase, the apartments, will not begin until building permits have been pulled for either of the two commercial elements of the plan.
Should the developers approach the commissioners about beginning the second residential phase before the commercial, “I imagine there would be some negotiation or the township might obtain the $375,000 by default,” Garner said.
“It was not easy to get them to agree to that,” said Foltz. “They didn’t want to put up any money at all.”
Both Foltz and Klotz praised the efforts on all sides.
“I think this shows the township is business friendly,” said Klotz, who praised the professionalism if both the developer’s staff and the township’s.
But not everyone was so enthusiastic.
Commissioner Ray Lopez cast the lone dissenting vote.
He said he voted no because of how many people who live in the area where the development is proposed have contacted him and asked him to oppose it.
“They’re opposed to it because of the traffic, the zoning changes, the impact on the schools, and they would like to see a different plan, one that has more commercial elements and I agree with them,” Lopez said.
However, the tale is not yet fully told.
Having won preliminary site plan approval, Castle Caldecott must now go back to the planning commission and do more work to seek a recommendation for final site plan approval, which can only be granted by the township commissioners.
“They’ve still got a long way to go,” said Klotz.
“They’re opposed to it because of the traffic, the zoning changes, the impact on the schools, and they would like to see a different plan, one that has more commercial elements and I agree with them.” — Ray Lopez, Lower Pottsgrove Commissioner