Trailer plan prompts look at zoning changes
LIMERICK >> In the wake of last month’s approval of the preliminary plan for the controversial TP Trailers and Truck Equipment plan to build a manufacturing and service facility on 10 acres at 181 Limerick Center Road, the township is making some changes.
Township Manager Dan Kerr told the supervisors during Tuesday’s meeting that the administration is working on some ordinance changes which so the stacking of cargo containers three high would no longer be allowed.
The potential stacking of containers is allowed under the current rules and the possibility of that happening became a bargaining chip while the TP Trailers preliminary was under consideration.
The existing zoning ordinances allow structures to be as high as 35 feet tall and three stacked shipping containers are below that height. After hearing safety concerns raised by neighbors opposing the plan, Township Solicitor Joseph McGrory tried, unsuccessfully, to convince property owner Tom Perkins to agree to stacking them no more than two high.
Mark Kaplin, Perkins’ attorney, had offered to have all the containers moved to the existing TP Trailers business on Ridge Pike, if the neighbors and supervisors would support Perkins bid for a zoning variance to be able to sell vehicles at the Limerick Center Road site, which they refused to do.
All the supervisors told the neighbors they did not like the plan, but because it conformed with the zoning ordinance, they could not oppose it without being sued in court, and losing.
Now, said Kerr, staff is working on changes to the zoning ordinance as it relates to “outdoor storage” that would prevent a repeat of that issue.
The changes, if adopted, would not apply to the TP Trailers project.
“We have to be careful in how we tweak it because as it stands, its working for most of the businesses in Limerick,” said Kerr.
Resident Amy Walker, an opponent of the plan, provided the township with a generic ordinance on outside storage put together by a state-wide local government association.
The supervisors were also asked about possibility of the TP Trailers project discharging pollutants into local streams.
But township Engineer Khaled Hassan said the plans require such facilities to have tanks to capture chemical run-off like oil and anti-freeze.
Further, said Supervisors Chairman Ken Sperring, both the federal Environmental protection Agency and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental protection conduct unannounced inspections.
“I’m very familiar with them because they are in my facility all the time,” said Sperring, who is the owner of Limerick Collision Center.
Kerr also said that the township is required to inspect “every outfall” of the stormwater system under new federal clean water rules. He promised to give a presentation on that process at a future board meeting.
The supervisors also informed Walker that signs barring truck traffic from nearby West Cherry Lane — another concern of the opponents was increased truck traffic — only await permission from PennDOT before they will be erected.
This article first appeared as a post in The Digital Notebook blog.
The proposed truck manufacturing and repair facility, shown by the red marker, is opposed by residents of Bella Rosa Court, Parnell Lane, Perry Court and West Cherry Lane
The preliminary site plan for TP Trailers at 181 Limerick Center Road.