Board OKs Burger King project, sets hearing for BET
ABINGTON >> After lengthy debate, the Abington Board of Commissioners approved a land development application on behalf of a Burger King located on the corner of Edge Hill and Bradfield roads during its Nov. 8 meeting.
The restaurant chain plans to construct an internal playground area and a second drive-thru lanem which will effectively take out the sidewalk along Bradfield Road.
The question before the board was whether to extend the curb and sidewalk along Bradfield Road and, if so, which entity should be made to pay for it.
As the improvements involve a land development agreement, township bylaws require the restaurant to finance the costs of sidewalk reconstruction and landscaping details on Bradfield Road. Burger King’s attorney sought a waiver from the board for the reconstruction.
“On balance, we think that there are other places in the township that could use sidewalk enhancement more than this particular sidewalk,” Burger King’s attorney said. “We don’t think that’s an efficient use of funds.”
The attorney requested that the township waive the sidewalk reconstruction, citing concerns that much of the existing mature landscaping would be excavated. Burger King personnel estimated $50,000 in landscaping costs, offering $25,000 to the township’s general fund in exchange for a waiver.
At present, both Bradfield and Edge Hill roads are two-way streets, though officials said Edge Hill will be converted to a oneway street in the near future.
Board members in favor of the waiver voiced their opinions during the meeting.
“This isn’t an area where people absolutely can’t get where they want to go,” Commissioner Matt Vahey said. “I don’t think it’s nec-
essary to have a sidewalk there.”
“We have an economic development committee that’s trying to bring business to the town,” Commissioner Carol Gillespie said. “How can we ask businesses to come to our town and then ask them to spend inordinate amounts of money each time they want to improve their property? It’s important to note that they’re not extending the property. If they were,
that’d be a different story.”
Other board members submitted that previously established township commitments to sidewalk enhancement are against Burger King’s request.
“My concern is that taking that sidewalk out goes against prior township commitments,” Commissioner Drew Rothman said. “Walkability is something the township has decided it values, and I agree with our commitment.”
In the end, the board passed a motion that omitted a waiver for the Bradfield Road curb and sidewalk.
In other matters, BET Investments Inc. submitted a zoning application to the township for the development of Abington Terrace, a 55-and-older senior apartment complex.
Construction would take place at the site of the what is now the Abington YMCA on Old York Road. Officials said the YMCA is currently operating but will be relocating to a new Upper Moreland facility in the spring.
The Dresher-based firm said the proposed project would have 180 age-restricted apartment homes, including 12,000 square feet of amenity space with a resort-style pool area and terrace courtyard.
“The amenity space will include a gym, group exercise area, meeting spaces and a group gathering area to provide residents with exceptional quality living,” Michael Markman, BET Investments president, said. “We decided to build this project after many senior residents in Abington expressed a need for luxury-style apartments in a central location within the township.
“Our 55-and-older Dublin Terrace apartment community in Upper Dublin has a waiting list and is currently 99 percent occupied,” he said.
A longtime resident of Abington, Markman said the firm anticipates a zoning hearing with the township Dec. 18. Should all go well, construction is expected to begin in early 2020, with units available by the spring of 2022.
“We are hoping to build this project in an effort to create a new type of senior living in Abington Township,” Markman said. “By doing this, we hope to give township residents, and others, the option to stay in the area when they sell their homes and downsize.”
According to officials, the proposed development would create $664,890 in net tax revenues for the township and its schools, while reducing YMCA-generated traffic, with 195 fewer trips during the morning rush and 179 fewer trips during the evening rush.