Town­ship eyes ma­jor growth

Of­fi­cials con­sider new traf­fic im­pact fee

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Evan Brandt [email protected]­tu­ry­media.com @PottstownNews on Twit­ter

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.

EVAN BRANDT — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

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.

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