Res­i­dents, Bran­dolini get closer on pro­posed phar­macy

The Ambler Gazette - - OBITUARIES - By Linda Finarelli

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.

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