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Township Board Opposes Sanatoga Pole Barn Plan

A Montgomery County map of the property, 2298 E. High St., discussed Thursday in Lower Pottsgrove

SANATOGA PA – A contractor’s plans to open an office in a former East High Street flower shop doesn’t bother the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners. His additional proposal, however – to erect a 2,400-square-foot pole barn for storage on the same property – so rankled its members Thursday (Jan. 25, 2018) that they notified the township Zoning Hearing Board they opposed the project.

Raymond J. Nadwodny, president of Pottstown-based RJN Contractors Inc., wants to use a structure at 2298 E. High St. as offices for his company, township Manager Ed Wagner explained. The property consists of “a narrow but deep lot” that extends south from East High almost to Brown Street, he said, and contains a home and a garage once occupied by retail florist “Flowers By Colleen.”

The home is already being renovated, Wagner noted, and the adjacent office space is vacant. Nadwodny has applied for zoning relief to build the pole barn, for what is labeled as “personal use.” Wagner worried its size would overwhelm the lot, and also create storm water management problems.

For board Vice President Stephen Klotz, a bigger concern is the pole barn’s impact on the Sanatoga village district. He claimed it was inappropriate, and conflicted with the commissioners’ earlier-stated desire to promote retail and professional uses along the East High Street business corridor. “It looks too much like a commercial property warehouse,” Klotz said of a drawing of the proposal.

Board colleague Robert Mohollen had questions, too; a personal use for a building that size “just doesn’t add up,” he said. He joined the unanimous opposition vote, but also suggested the zoning board ask for more clarification about what the barn will store.

The Zoning Hearing Board certainly will consider commissioners’ opinions when they meet in February to discuss Nadwodny’s appeal; its membership is commissioner-appointed. As an independent and quasi-judicial entity, though, earlier township solicitors have advised the zoning board is not legally required to heed the commissioners’ notice as a demand. It can rule on requests as it sees fit.

Commissioners last year asked Wagner to add Zoning Hearing Board items to their agenda so they could be better informed.

Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ Jan. 25 meeting):

Graphic from Montgomery County PA Property Records

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