SANATOGA PA – Retirement community builder J. Wilmer “Wil” Hallman years ago hoped to win Lower Pottsgrove (PA) Township approval of his plans to create an age-restricted housing project on Buchert Road. He wanted to do the right thing too, his attorney explained Monday (Feb. 28, 2011), in solving a problem that troubled the place he also called home.
So at the township’s request, Hallman agreed to include in his plans for what became Buchert Ridge Community, 2011 Buchert Rd., Pottstown PA, a paved loop that would serve as a turn-around for Pottstown Area Rapid Transit Inc. (PART) buses. It would mark the east end of their Sanatoga-to-Stowe route, which takes riders primarily along High Street.
In helping the township eliminate what is recognized as a dangerous situation posed by PART, though, Hallman may have inadvertently made problems of his own for Buchert Ridge.
The bus loop was one of several features highlighted by attorney Charles Garner as he spoke during a Monday night hearing on Buchert Ridge conducted by Lower Pottsgrove’s Zoning Hearing Board. Hallman’s plans require a variance on the number of parking spaces his community must have by law; the board has yet to rule on that request, and continued its hearing until March 28.
PART’s route currently ends at the Rolling Hills rental complex on Buchert Road, on the west end of semi-circular Rolling Hills Drive and across the street from Buchert Ridge. The turn-around there is a three-pointer: buses are driven west to, and then stopped just past the intersection (Point 1); drivers then back across the width of Buchert Road into Rolling Hills Drive (Point 2); and when ready to return to Stowe they leave the drive turning right (Point 3) and head east on Buchert to North Pleasant View Road.
Township police and officials have long complained that the three-pointer is an accident waiting to happen on the busy and often speedy highway, in an area filled with children. Construction of Buchert Ridge, with its second entrance closer to the intersection of Kepler and Buchert roads, and with what at the time appeared to be available vacant land, seemed the perfect opportunity to install a PART loop and remove the perceived accident threat.
The loop’s location, in Buchert Ridge’s southwest corner, is adjacent to a proposed multi-story building of garden suite apartments that is now a bone of contention among Kepler Road property owners. They crowded into the zoning hearing, and a earlier meeting of the township Board of Commissioners, to protest its excessive height. Hallman would have needed a variance for it, too, but announced Monday the building would comply with township height requirements.
Could the building be lengthened, and its objectionable height further reduced, if the designed bus loop wasn’t in its way? Hallman’s engineering consultant, John McMenamin, hinted at it – but did not testify to as much – during the hearing.
Ironically, Hallman estimates 75 percent of buyers at Buchert Ridge, and an earlier project about two miles east – Sanatoga Ridge – rely on their own cars for transportation. Of the 25 percent without vehicles, Hallman reported, “few ride a bus.”
Related (to Buchert Ridge Community):
- PART Buses Play A Part In Buchert Ridge Building Plans
- Surprise: Height No Longer Zoning Issue At Buchert Ridge
- Over Objections, Commissioners Endorse Buchert Apartments
- Two Expansions Considered On Lower Pottsgrove Agenda
- Accusations Fly At Planners’ Meeting Over Buchert Ridge
- Applications Withdrawn; Township Cancels Zoning Hearings
- Lower Pottsgrove Hearings Set For Apartments, Lighting
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- Commissioners Warm To Energy-Saving Apartments
- Commissioners Get An Early Start Tonight
- Meeting Moved Up For Buchert Ridge Presentation
- Buchert Ridge Unveiling Final Phase