Sellersville sends draft ordinances to county
Sellersville planners have been hard at work to eliminate loopholes and erase irregularities for years, and their efforts are now one major step closer to paying off.
Sellersville Borough Council approved sending draft amendments to both the borough’s zoning and subdivision and land development ordinances to the Bucks County Planning Commission for review at its Aug. 13 meeting.
The proposed changes to the borough’s ordinances are the result of years of discussion at the planning commission level.
“For several years, the planning commission has been looking at a number of different issues,” borough Solicitor Randall White said, noting the conversation began when the borough encountered an issue with its parking requirements on a particular development.
“What started off as parking spaces turned into many other discussions along the way,” Borough Manager David Rivet said.
The revisions primarily cover requirements for providing notice to
residents, parking and transportation impact studies, which White and Cheryleen Strothers, of Cowan Associates, the borough’s engineerLQJ fiUP, GLVFUVVHG DW WKH meeting.
7KH fiUVW PDMRU SURSRVHG change would be to require developers to give notice to neighboring residents about proposed subdivision or land development plans.
While this is common procedure in many municipalities, it’s not on the books currently in Sellersville, according to White.
“There’s been no procedure for that,” he said. “The planning commission felt it would be better to hear those voices earlier in the process.”
Another proposed change covers the issue that initially prompted the planning commission’s review: parking requirements.
Currently, borough ordinances require residential areas to have at least two spaces per dwelling unit, according to White. Under the proposed amendments, the parking requirement would remain at two spots per unit in the zoning ordinance, but DQ DGGLWLRQDO RVHUflRW VSDFH would be required per dwelling unit for subdivision and land development plans.
“It only applies to major developments,” Strothers said of the requirement for a third parking spot, noting LQ-fiOO ORWV DOUHDGY ZRQHG DV residential would only have to have two.
The draft amendment also VSHFLfiHV WKHUH WKH RVHUflRW parking can be in residential developments, along with establishing dimensions for D JDUDJH WKDW TUDOLfiHV DV D parking space, according to Strothers.
By putting the requirement for the third spot in the subdivision and land devel- opment ordinance and not the zoning ordinance, the borough leaves it open for the planning commission to recommend a waiver, which would have to be approved by council, according to White.
7KH fiQDO PDMRU FKDQJH would be the requirement for a transportation impact study for all subdivision and land development plans.
“Sellersville Borough has had a noticeable absence of D UHTULUHPHQW IRU D WUDIfiF study,” White said, noting the draft ordinance not only requires one but sets the criteria for what must be studied.
Another part of the proposed amendments is the adGLWLRQ RI D GHfiQLWLRQ IRU FRQdominium, which is lacking in the current ordinances.
“It’s a subtle change to close up a loophole we had there,” Strothers said.
The law requires the draft amendments to now go before the Bucks County Planning Commission for re- view. The commission will then send them back to the borough with any comments and council must hold a public hearing on the amendments before potential adoption.
White said the borough is hoping to get the amendments approved before the end of the year.
In other business, council approved a deal that looks to yield $9,000 for little to no work on the borough’s part.
The council approved a resolution to allow Black Oaks Properties to borrow $3.8 million through the Sellersville Industrial Development Authority.
The IDA, which the borough formed approximately eight years ago, “acts as a vehicle to lower borrowing costs in certain areas, particularly manufacturing,” White said.
A bank enters into an agreement with the IDA, which in turn enters into an agreement with the manufacturer, according to White. By offering the loan to a government entity, the bank saves money on taxes and is able to offer a lower interest rate, which the IDA passes on to the company.
In this case, the IDA is working on a loan from Univest for Black Oak Properties, which owns the Chant Engineering building in New Britain Borough, according to White.
“7KHY DUH UHfiQDQFLQJ D couple million dollars of debt from a couple years ago,” he said, noting they also are borrowing $1.6 million to construct an addition to the building, with the hopes of generating eight more jobs.
White said the borough is not lending money and has no liability, but the IDA will earn $9,000 from the transaction. While the IDA cannot spend its funds on the borough’s general obligations, it can pay for capital projects. The IDA ultimately decides where to direct the money, but borough council can suggest projects.
“So we get $9,000 for actually doing nothing,” council member hathleen Hallman said.