Residents, Brandolini get closer on proposed pharmacy
Dreshertown Plaza owner Brandolini Cos. and nearby residents of the shopping center may have found some common ground that will finally lead to the development of the adjacent Mele tract.
Brandolini President Fred Snow told the Upper Dublin Planning Commission Sept. 18 that after meeting with neighbors of the plaza, “I believe we can address their concerns satisfactorily.”
Brandolini, which owns the 4-acre parcel on Dreshertown Road, has applied for a zoning change from A-residential to Shopping Center to permit construction of a free-standing, drive-thru Rite Aid pharmacy. A public hearing on the zoning application has been rescheduled from Oct. 9 to Dec. 11 at the Upper Dublin Township Building.
Residents expressed concerns over screening, pharmacy hours, lighting, building height, aesthetics, traffic and sidewalks, Snow said.
“We will either provide additional evergreen screening or a privacy fence,” and “are willing to do whatever is most restric- tive” in terms of lighting, he said. Brandolini would also agree to put in sidewalk along Dreshertown Road from the shopping center entrance to the southwest corner of Kirks Lane, and a traffic study will be done, he said.
Regarding the condition of the storm-water basin near the McDonald’s, Snow said, “We will make sure there is a monthly schedule to clean the basin” as well as a proposed new basin. In addition, the one-story building will not go over the permitted 35-foot height.
The residents do not want the pharmacy open 24 hours a day, which Rite Aid has agreed to with the condition that if a competitor is allowed a 24-hour operation in the same geographic area, it would want the same opportunity, Snow said.
“The only thing they can’t agree to is no drive-thru pharmacy,” said Marc Kaplin, the attorney representing Brandolini. “You can’t do a pharmacy today without that. If the issue is landscaping for the neighbors on Kirks Lane, they can do that.”
Kaplin said the conditions agreed to could be included in a deed restriction with the neighbors that could be recorded with the zoning change. The deed restriction would be enforceable by the neighbors, not the township, he said.
Leonard Karp, a member of the Upper Dublin Zoning Hearing Board who spoke as a resident of Glenecho Road, was less sure about a deed restriction.
“The majority are in agreement if the neighborhood is protected, they’re not opposed to the pharmacy,” Karp said. “How you provide those protections, we don’t know. I’m not sure the township wants to or should give up enforcement protections of the community.”
Karp said he was also unsure who could sign a deed restriction, either on the part of the neighbors or the other side.
“There may be another way,” he said. “We’re open to whatever works.”
Maintaining the deed restriction is the best option, Kaplin said, “Our concern is to make what you want enforceable because [due to a 1970s Supreme Court decision] one of those opposed to everything could appeal.”
Planning commission Chairman Wes Wolf said the township solicitor will be consulted and the commission will make a decision on whether to recommend the zoning change at its October meeting.
BET property Discussion over the possibility of changing the zoning in the BETowned property across Limekiln Pike from Dreshertown Plaza was also discussed.
BET has proposed a hotel, pharmacy, office building and restaurant on the 9.54-acre site between Susquehanna Road and North Limekiln Pike. The plan has not been well-received by nearby residents or township commissioners.
The parcel is zoned A-residential but falls within the Dresher Overlay, which permits other uses with restrictions. A suggestion to change the zoning to multi-dwelling on the side near the adjacent residential development was presented on behalf of the township by Code Enforcement Director Rick Barton.
Multi-dwelling would allow townhouses on the section nearest Golden Drive and perhaps also on a 2.97-acre adjacent property BET could possibly purchase, Barton said. The townhouses would serve as a transition between the singlefamily homes and the other part of the parcel, for which Barton said the base zoning could be changed to CR-L, commercial-retail.
The plan includes a driveway in the townhouse section from Susquehanna through the tract to line up with a Limekiln Pike entrance to Dreshertown Plaza with a light. Sidewalks would be installed on the Limekiln Pike side of the tract.
The planners seemed to have a mixed reaction, with questions regarding how three adjacent properties that line Limekiln and are zoned A-Residential would fit in and whether the driveway would turn into a cut-through.
Mark Cucker, a resident of Golden Drive, said he supported the townhouse concept, “as opposed to the wild card the overlay uses could do,” and liked the idea of sidewalks, but was also concerned about the cut-through possibility as well as the pharmacy.
Cucker questioned the wisdom of having two drive-thru pharmacies, one on the BET tract and the one discussed across the street on the Brandolini property, due to the heavy traffic in the area.
The planners seemed to welcome the overall proposal as a possible solution to a transitional use of the property and the prospect of making the area more pedestrianfriendly. No formal application has been made.