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"Now's The Time" For Park Access

Entrance to Schuylkill River Park, Sanatoga Station Road.

A barricaded walking path serves as the current entrance to the township's Schuylkill River Park.

SANATOGA PA – Tit-for-tat, Lower Pottsgrove (PA) Township Commissioner Anthony Doyle figures.

If Occidental Chemical and a business partner want township approval for a proposed minor subdivision change, Doyle reasoned Thursday (April 23, 2009), maybe they could provide something the township wants as well …  like better access to its open space along the Schuylkill River near Occidental’s property.

Doyle made his pitch to colleagues on the Board of Commissioners during their meeting in the municipal building, 2199 Buchert Rd., relying in part on a similar recommendation recently offered by a member of the Montgomery County (PA) Planning Commission. Board members said they would consider the idea, but gave no time frame for action.

At issue are two seemingly different needs with a common factor: Occidental.

The company wants to change lot lines on adjacent properties owned by it and BCW Associates Ltd. at 351 and 375 Armand Hammer Blvd. The shift would allow the parties to retain rather than demolish a building on one lot, an Occidental attorney told  the township Planning Commission earlier this week, thus making it more marketable. Both Doyle and Board of Commissioners’ President Bruce Foltz attended the planning session.

The township some day wants, but was in no recent hurry to get, more convenient public access to 12.3 acres of open space dedicated as its Schuylkill River Park, 2116 Sanatoga Station Rd. Portions of it abut Occidental-owned land along no-longer-used Hart Road. Why not negotiate public right-of-way on Hart to enter the park land, Doyle suggested, in exchange for township approval of the subdivision plan?

“Now’s the time to do it, with Occidental on the move,” Doyle contended. “If we don’t start talking to somebody about it, it’s never going to get done,” he said.

It may not be that simple a trade, however, according to township Manager Rodney Hawthorne. Ownership of Hart Road needs to be more thoroughly explored, he said, because sections of it may be controlled by not only Occidental but also by Norfolk Southern Railroad or Conrail.

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