SANATOGA PA – Lower Pottsgrove, Montgomery County and state officials all are working to help the development currently labeled as “FMC Lower Pottsgrove,” which proposes to install a 21-unit dialysis center in the former Rite Aid Pharmacy building at 2217 E. High St., move into place quickly. The problem that faces them: government regulations and paperwork.
Township Planning Commission Chairman Frank Cebular earlier this month said the dialysis center “seems like a perfect fit” for the long-vacant building, which has had difficulty attracting a tenant since Rite Aid left. Others involved agree.
Because the site sits a few feet above street level its display windows aren’t readily seen by passing traffic, which real estate agents claim discourages retail use. The dialysis center doesn’t need that exposure; the limited isolation might even work to its advantage, some officials think.
What it does need, but as of last week still hadn’t received, was a building permit to start interior renovations. The permit is issued by the township, but Chad Camburn of Lower Pottsgrove engineering firm Bursich Associates explained it can’t be delivered until the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) approves added sewage capacity the dialysis center requires.
The township Sewage Authority gave its blessing to the plan, and more importantly authorized the capacity – equal to that used by several households annually – last month. It now is awaiting a DEP acknowledgment to proceed. DEP promised it would do its best to expedite the process, Camburn told Planning Commissioners during their July 15 meeting. County higher-ups are also trying to wield whatever influence they might have.
The fear is that, under pressure to match moves by local competitors, the developer might choose an alternative site to Rite Aid and the business could slip away from the township.
Camburn reported a meeting with DEP representatives to discuss the center was scheduled during this week. The center also may be a discussion topic for the township Board of Commissioners’ meeting Thursday (July 25), he said.
Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Planning Commission’s July 15 meeting):