Township eyes major growth
Officials consider new traffic impact fee
NEW HANOVER >> Residential growth in the township is expected to continue with more than 2,000 new homes and nearly 6,000 new residents by 2030, according to a draft township report.
Similarly, the township will see more than 95,000 square feet of office and commercial retail space developed by 2030, according to the same draft report.
Called the Draft Land Use Assumptions report, it was put together by the township’s traffic consultants and the Montgomery County Planning Commission as the first step toward deciding whether to impose a higher traffic impact fee on developers.
But before that can happen, two more reports must be generated, including a “Roadways Sufficiency
Analysis” and a “Capital Projects Plan.”
In other words, the land use report is used to determine if the township’s roadways are sufficient to carry the increased traffic and, assuming they are not, what capital improvements are needed to improve traffic flow.
Once all those things are done, a new fee can be calculated based on the costs of the roadway improvements and the developers’ share of those costs.
But before any of that happens, the township must hold a public hearing on the draft land use assumptions report. That will happen on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 5:30 p.m. at the township building at 2943 N. Charlotte St.
It is the public’s first chance to weigh in on the findings and what it may mean for quality of life in New Hanover, particularly on its roads.
If a new traffic impact fee is enacted, which seems likely, it will be the township’s third.
The first was enacted in the early 1990s and then updated again in 2005, according to the report. Work on the current draft that will be the subject of the Dec. 12 hearing began in March.
According to Sandy Koza, New Hanover’s traffic consultant, there are currently two service areas for the impact fee. Area 1, which is the eastern section of town, has a fee of $1,972.50 for each new weekday afternoon vehicle trip a project is projected to generate.
Area 2, in the western portion, has a fee of $3,695 for each new weekday afternoon vehicle trip a project is projected to generate.
Any additional traffic impact fee will be based on the projected cost of capital projects needed to handle additional traffic generated by the new developments.
The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission has projected the addition of about 6,800 people by 2025, representing a population increase of 98 percent since 2000 for this once rural township.
The U.S. Census Bureau currently estimates New Hanover’s population at 12,243. With no less than 26 development projects in various stages of the approval pipeline — with the potential to add another 5,982 residents to the mix — township officials are looking at a 41 percent population increase in just a few years.
Most of that growth is expected in the southern portion of the township along the Swamp Pike, Route 73 and Route 663 corridors.
Despite all the homes being built, agriculture remains the most popular land use in town, with 4,255 acres or 32 percent of the township’s acreage devoted to growing food. Coming in at a close second is single-family residential at 27 percent or 3,594 acres, according to the draft report.
But that could change in the next few years with the massive Town Center which calls for 875 new housing units, as well as a supermarket and commercial and retail space on 203 acres that was once the New Hanover Airport off Swamp Pike, Router 663 and Township Line Road.
Almost as large, according to the draft report, is the Marinari tract, on which 871 housing units, on property near the intersection of Route 663 and Route 73.
This 145unit Hanover Pointe housing development along North Charlotte Street in the southern portion of New Hanover is just one of many in the works.