A car drives past the rock pile on Evergreen Road, headed north toward West Lightcap Road
One of the pile’s rockiest inclines
SANATOGA PA – As private home owners who live along Evergreen Road spoke Monday (Aug. 4, 2014) to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners, some of their voices choked with emotion in describing an alleged evil lurking beyond their front doors, just over the highway.
It is massive, they claimed; ominous, towering, ugly. Worse, they fear it threatens their financial health.
There was no mistaking the collective opinion: a 30-foot high accumulation of rocks and earthen debris, mounded since 2011 at the corner of Evergreen and West Lightcap roads in Limerick, has left a bad taste in the mouths of its neighbors west across the township line.
“We don’t like it either,” board President Bruce Foltz acknowledged, “but there’s nothing we can do about it.”
“The rock pile” was the term most often used, during a commissioners’ meeting on rezoning an area that included some homes west of Evergreen and south of U.S. Route 422, to label the L-shaped heap of red-colored dirt, shale slabs and boulders topped with vegetation. “Sedona East,” home owner Don Woodley Jr. called it, referring without touristy affection to rust-hued sandstone formations in the Upper Sonoran Desert of northern Arizona.
The rock pile arose from earthen excavations related to Gateway At Sanatoga, one of several commercial developments planned at or near the corner. Business growth there began with construction of the Philadelphia Premium Outlets, then followed with installation of a Costco warehouse store on the outlets’ western edge.
The Gateway At Sanatoga shopping complex proposed in Limerick, with Evergreen Road at its left side
Created by O’Neill Properties Group of King of Prussia, Gateway intended to straddle both sides of Lightcap within Limerick’s borders. Besides Costco, it was to include a cinema complex, restaurants, and retail shops. Most of the project, at least as initially envisioned, has yet to materialize. The detritus from earth-moving remains.
Lower Pottsgrove’s board ultimately approved two new zones, Gateway Mixed-Use and Gateway Residential Overlay. They replace the Limited Industrial Use zone in which the homes were previously located. Commissioners and their special legal counsel, Michael Furey, explained the zoning change could better help owners sell their properties, if desired.
It was in the context of future real estate sales that the rock pile came up, mentioned again and again by property owners during the meeting as an eyesore that turned off would-be buyers and negatively affected the prices their homes might fetch.
Foltz commiserated, but said commissioners’ hands were tied. “We’ve got no control over the rock pile” or its removal, he told the audience that packed the municipal building conference room on Buchert Road. “You’ve got to talk to Limerick about it.”
“We have,” replied frustrated home owner Debi Patton. “They haven’t done anything.”
After the meeting ended, Lower Pottsgrove officials indicated they likely would confer with their Limerick counterparts about what, if anything, could be done to move the rock pile.
Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ Aug. 4 meeting):
Gateway At Sanatoga graphic from O’Neill Properties Group