The front of the Buchert Ridge Community interim recreation center, facing Buchert Road
The building has several unique architectural details
SANATOGA PA – Residents of Buchert Ridge Community on Buchert Road may not have to wait much longer to begin making use of their renovated-and-nearly-ready interim community center, the former Prizer house that occupies a prominent spot inside the retirement housing development.
Workers for Sanatoga-based owner Hallman Retirement Neighborhoods have spent months making over the once-private stone-and-masonry homestead to equip it as a gathering and recreation center for the community’s growing number of residents age 55 and older. It carries an “interim” tag because, in a future phase of the development, the center would be succeeded by a newer building and accompanying swimming pool on the community’s west side.
Opening the interim center has been a challenge, however, specifically because those future plans remain incomplete, the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners was told Thursday (Jan. 24, 2013). Commissioners’ President Jonathan Spadt urged township staffers “to work out a potential solution” with Hallman representatives, within the guidelines of municipal regulations.
Hallman’s proposed Phase 2 envisions construction of a multi-story building of apartment homes, the new center, pool, single-story garages and other, smaller buildings. The plans originally required zoning relief because of the apartment building’s proposed height, but that need was eliminated when the developer promised it would meet township limitations.
A slower economy and real estate market, and the need to redesign some parts of the plan, has delayed its return for the commissioners’ review. Although a building permit to renovate the center was issued after a late 2011 meeting, the township so far has withheld a certificate of occupancy allowing the building to be used.
Township Manager Rodney Hawthorne said it was his understanding for earlier discussions that an occupancy permit would not be issued until plans for the project were finalized. Commissioners didn’t disagree, but unanimously expressed interest in “getting people in there so they can make use of it,” as Commissioner Michael McGroarty put it.
To that end, Solicitor R. Kurtz Holloway suggested Hallman draw up papers that indemnify the township from liability incurred during use of the property until final project plans are approved. Some parking spaces for the disabled also must be modified, the board agreed.
“If everything gets done to specs, we don’t see a reason why not,” Commissioner Stephen Klotz said of opening the center.
Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ Jan. 24 meeting):