Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Putting the Brakes on Sanatoga Green?

The site plan for the proposed Sanatoga Green project superimposed on an aerial photo of the more than 50 acres of the site.


That one word could be said to sum up the township commissioners feelings Monday night about the proposed Sanatoga Green mixed use development.

Already the recipients of five variances from the township's zoning hearing board, the project that seeks to put 159 town homes; 342 apartments in 17 buildings, as well as a hotel and medical office on 52 acres off Evergreen Road, is now asking for seven more, along with 22 waivers.

In a variety of reports from the engineer, township manager and township solicitor, the township commissioners were showered with a bewildering array of new conditions, developments and exceptions being sought by the developers of the massive project, which has already garnered concern from the school board and regional planning commission.

Township Manager Ed Wagner said during the most recent township planning commission meeting, the developers were already asking for preliminary site plan approvals.

"It's totally unrealistic, I had to stand up to them and push them back," Wagner told the commissioners Monday night.

Chad Camburn, engineer from the township's firm Bursich Engineering, said among the seven variances sought is the first ever to the township's newly adopted federally required flood ordinance governing homes and a 30-foot retaining wall the developers, Castle Caldecott LLC, wants to build on soils identified as being susceptible to flooding.

Other variances included not building sidewalks, planting shade trees and extending Park Road to connect with Evergreen Road, raising concerns by the police chief and several commissioners that it could become a short-cut to the Philadelphia Premium Outlets in Limerick.

Solicitor Charles D. Garner Jr. also raised the concern that nothing in the township ordinances will required the developers to build the hotel and medical offices outlined in the plan.

"Right now the housing market is hot," he said, noting that it could be as long as 10 years before the developers decide the market conditions are right to add a hotel and medical offices as outlined in the plan.

He suggested the commissioners begin to take a long look at the project in its entirety, noting the developers were bringing in aspects of the project "piecemeal" and if they don't speak up about the impacts of the entire project now, it may be too late later.

The commissioners agreed with the advice of their professionals and suggested that the developers make a presentation at a future meeting outlining the fullness of their plans and bring along representations of what their buildings will look like.

Look for more coverage in subsequent issues of The Mercury. In the meantime, here are the Tweets from the meeting.

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