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Township Commissioners OK Offices

SANATOGA PA – After almost two hours Thursday (March 19, 2009) of legal i-dotting and t-crossing, the Lower Pottsgrove (PA) Township Board of Commissioners gave its approval to conditional use of property at 1800 E. High St. for construction of an office condominium complex proposed by Specht Investors LLC.

An artist's rendering of two proposed new office buildings in what would be the Specht complex, in a view envisioned to look north up South Sunnybrook Road toward East High Street.

An artist's rendering of two new office buildings (at left) in what would be the Specht complex, in a view envisioned as looking north on South Sunnybrook Road toward East High Street.

The outcome was a foregone conclusion well before the board’s official vote. During its conditional use hearing at the township municipal building, 2199 Buchert Rd., all four commissioners in attendance – Bruce Foltz, Jonathan Spadt, Stephen Klotz and Anthony Doyle – said they were pleased with and would endorse the project.

The developer plans to build two Colonial-style office buildings to join another office building already on the four-acre site, at the corner of East High and South Sunnybrook Road. The largest new building would consist of 19,846 square feet; the second, smaller building would contain 13,280 square feet. The project is located in a Limited Commercial Office District, and within a floodplain.

Limitations imposed by the site, and township regulations over features such as the floodplain and steep slopes, made the hearing necessary. Township Solicitor R. Kurtz Holloway explained the board “would be obligated” to approve the project if developers could prove it met specific criteria.

Thus ensued a lengthy presentation of witnesses, evidence, and testimony to ensure every legal point was covered. There was no opposition or audience questions.

After the first hour even the developer’s attorney, Howard Kalis, joked he was anxious to wrap up. As an unabashed supporter of Villanova University basketball, Kalis noted, there were televised March Madness basketball games yet to be watched Thursday night.

Commissioners’ approval came attached with several conditions: the need for more detailed plans, limitations on building size, assurances of adequate parking, landscaping requirements, cooperation with neighboring property owners on extension of the township trail system, creation of a condominium owners association to manage the buildings, and obtaining required variances from the township Zoning Hearing Board.

Commissioner James Phillips was absent and did not vote.

Township zoners will consider the Specht proposal at a separate hearing next month. Construction cannot begin until the zoning board also grants approval.

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