Project nearly hits speed bump over traf­fic-light vote

The Phoenix - - LOCAL NEWS - By Evan Brandt ebrandt@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @PottstownNews on Twit­ter This ar­ti­cle first ap­peared as a post in The Dig­i­tal Note­book blog.

LIM­ER­ICK » The pro­posal to build a 450-unit com­bi­na­tion de­vel­op­ment of se­nior hous­ing, town­houses and a re­tail strip on 30 acres at the in­ter­sec­tion of Ridge and Swamp pikes nearly hit a speed bump Tues­day night.

With Su­per­vi­sor Thomas Neafcy ab­sent, a loom­ing 2-2 vote threat­ened to put the brakes on a de­vel­op­ment which has moved steadily through the de­vel­op­ment pro­cess since last month when a por­tion of the project re­ceived pre­lim­i­nary site plan ap­proval from the town­ship su­per­vi­sors.

In ad­di­tion to 160 town­homes and the 308 se­nior units — com­prised of a mix­ture of in­de­pen­dent liv­ing, as­sisted liv­ing and “mem­ory care” units — the plan also calls for three re­tail build­ings that have 32,000 square feet of space on the first floor, with apart­ments above.

Called “Lim­er­ick Town Cen­ter,” and “Ar­ca­dia at Lim­er­ick Pointe” for the se­nior hous­ing por­tion, the project was made pos­si­ble by changes the su­per­vi­sors made at the de­vel­op­ers’ re­quest to the town­ship zon­ing code to al­low the three uses on the same par­cel, said Robert Brant, the at­tor­ney rep­re­sent­ing the de­vel­op­ers.

In ex­change, the de­vel­op­ers agreed to ex­tend Lewis Road north through the prop­erty to Swamp Pike, thus al­low­ing north­bound driv­ers to avoid hav­ing to make a right turn onto Ridge Pike and then the very sharp left onto Swamp Pike, and vice versa.

How­ever, the plan now in­cludes a traf­fic cir­cle, for the in­ter­sec­tion of Swamp Pike, Lewis Road and the pro­posed new road, Ar­ca­dia Drive, which ap­pears to be pop­u­lar only with the Mont­gomery County en­gi­neers who re­quired it.

The first phase of the project to be built will be the se­nior liv­ing build­ing, fol­lowed by town­houses and then fi­nally, the com­mer­cial, Brant said pre­vi­ously.

The town­ship re­quires that road im­prove­ments ac­com­pany the first phase of con­struc­tion and that meant a vote Tues­day to ap­ply for three new traf­fic light per­mits from Pen­nDOT.

But Su­per­vi­sor Ken Sper­ring, who has ob­jected re­peat­edly to the traf­fic cir­cle re­quired by Mont­gomery County Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, said he re­fuses “on prin­ci­ple,” to vote for any­thing in­volv­ing the cir­cle.

Join­ing him was Su­per­vi­sor Patrick Mor­roney who first said he is con­cerned about buffer­ing is­sues and later said he is op­posed to the en­tire project.

Mor­roney was ab­sent when the pre­lim­i­nary ap­proval vote was taken last month.

Town­ship En­gi­neer Khaled Has­san said round­abouts “func­tion bet­ter than in­ter­sec­tions.” And Town­ship Man­ager Dan Kerr said the round­about plan had been re­viewed by the town’s traf­fic en­gi­neer, as well as county and Pen­nDOT. and “all rec­om­mend it as su­pe­rior.”

To which Sper­ring replied, “take a look at the round­about at Route 29 and Route 73. There are ac­ci­dents there all the time.”

In the end, how­ever, af­ter much ex­plain­ing about the need for ap­ply­ing the per­mits, and re-as­sur­ances that there would be other op­por­tu­ni­ties to raise con­cerns, Sper­ring changed his vote “un­der protest.”

With Mor­roney still op­posed, the res­o­lu­tion to ap­ply for the traf­fic light per­mits was ap­proved 3-1 and the project con­tin­ues down the road to­ward fi­nal ap­proval.


Dig­i­tal First File Pho­toThis map shows the en­tire scope of the pro­posed Lim­er­ick Town Cen­ter project. The se­ci9or hous­ing por­tion of the plan, which has re­ceived pre­lim­i­nary ap­proval, is at the cen­ter. The traf­fic cir­cle which was the sub­ject of much of Tues­day’s dis­cus­sion as at cen­ter right.

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