Thursday, April 28, 2016

Planners Back More Development at Upland Square

Photo by Evan Brandt
Ed Reitz, a planner from Douglass (Mont.), left, and Kurt Zebrowski, a planner from New Hanover, take a closer look at the site plans for the commercial expansion off State Street, opposite Upland Square, in West Pottsgrove.

Although Wednesday night's meeting of the Pottstown Metropolitan Area Regional Planning Committee lasted barely 30 minutes, it did manage to generate some news.

Plans for the development of nearly 20 acres across Upland Drive from the Upland Square Shopping Center and behind the recently constructed Citadel Bank building are moving forward.

Owned by the Gambone group, the first concept plan was submitted to the township in 2011.

That plan, completed by Kennedy and Assoc., included a 100-room hotel; 105,000 square feet of retail space; 11,000 square-feet of restaurant space; a 4,000 square-foot bank, a gas station/convenience store and a 918-space parking lot.

Some of uses have been pared down and the plan presented to the regional planners Wednesday night calls for two retails buildings, one of which will be a grocery story, several restaurants, including one that specializes in Chicken Wings, and a dentist's office, said West Pottsgrove Commissioner Dominic Gentile.

The current plan shows no development plans for the 
Upper Pottsgrove portion of the site, shown on the right.
The grocery store has previously been identified as Lidl, a German-based chain that offers food similar to the Aldi in Lower Pottsgrove at the Home Depot off Armand Hammer Boulevard.

Upper Pottsgrove Commissioner Elwood Taylor said his township has supported development at the site, but wants to ensure that access remains solely off Route 100.

"Upper Pottsgrove has been very supportive of development in this area from the git-go," said Taylor. "There was controversy int he comminity about expanding commecial development in this area and UP stood up and defended that decision and so we're excited to see this happen," Taylor said.

"Our concern is that access to the Upper Pottsgrove parcels be maintained through the new development," given that there are currently no plans to develop those parcels.

"The crux of the issue is State Street to the north is residential, and for the last 10 years, we have been very careful about not allowing State Street to become a throughway to a commercial center," said Taylor.

With those concerns expressed, the regional planners voted to allow Montgomery County Planner Donna Fabry to write a letter declaring that the project complies with the regional Master Plan, which targete commercial growth for that area.

And with that, here are the Tweets from an otherwise very short meeting:

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