Rolph Graf (above), an engineer representing the proposed Spring Valley Farms housing community, describes plans Monday to the Lower Pottsgrove Planning Commission.
SANATOGA PA – Saying they wanted a greater number of items on an engineering checklist “cleaned up,” members of the Lower Pottsgrove Planning Commission declined Monday (July 20, 2015) to immediately endorse preliminary approval of plans to built 178 single-family homes on almost 146 acres bordering Bleim and North Pleasant View roads at the township’s northeast side.
Instead, the developer of the proposed Spring Valley Farms housing community has been asked to return to another commission meeting, possibly on Aug. 17 (Monday), for further review and discussion.
Planners did vote to support waivers sought by the developer that would give the project greater flexibility in dealing with approaches to stop signs at intersections, the type of storm water sewer pipe to be installed, placement of trees between sidewalks and curbing, and the type of curb to be installed.
They also repeated concerns about the impact development traffic may have in further congesting nearby roads – specifically Bleim, Pruss Hill and North Pleasant View – at peak morning and evening travel times. But they acknowledged that because state roads were involved, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation would play a role in determining how, if at all, those concerns were addressed.
The developer must apply to PennDOT for approval of its plans as well, but cannot do so until planners recommend and the Board of Commissioners vote for preliminary approval, township Manager Ed Wagner explained.
The project would be served with public water available from a storage tower further north on Pleasant View, and with public sewer from Deer Ridge Drive under a negotiated easement with a property owner there, according to its plans. Its streets and facilities would be privately owned, and serviced and maintained by a home owners’ association and not at taxpayer expense, the board was told.
Because the project is within the township’s newly created Preservation Subdivision District overlay, developer Brennan Marion is offering two adjacent parcels of land, totaling 86 acres, to be dedicated to the township as open space. Another 20 acres within the development also would be deemed as open.
Board members spent much of their hour-long meeting in a review of items already completed by, or still outstanding with, Marion and his engineering representative, Rolph Graf of Graf Engineering LLC. The lists consisted of recommendations made by the township engineering firm, Bursich Associates. Most “were not major,” Bursich representative Chad Camburn told commissioners.
But they were sufficient to have board member William Wolfgang declare he “was not ready to go forward” with the project because “there are too many ‘maybes.’ I’d like to see some more definitive answers” to some checklist items before recommending the project’s approval. His colleagues agreed.
Wolfgang, who lives on Pruss Hill, and new commissioner Scott Fulmer both objected to what they perceived as future traffic problems created by drivers from Spring Valley Farms. Fulmer estimated the development would eventually result in adding 300 cars to local roads. “There’s no way that’s not going to have an impact,” he said.
Fulmer, who formerly served as president of the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors, also observed that, over time, families in Spring Valley Farms might enroll up to 300 children in Pottsgrove schools. “The district won’t be able to handle that,” he noted.
Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Planning Commission meeting of July 20):